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The Service Year: Unleashing America’s Potential

This week, I joined Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers, along with heads of state, Nobel Prize winners, nonprofit leaders, and influential CEOs for the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) – whose mission is to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

When leaders and progressive thinkers of this magnitude join together, it’s impossible not to be inspired by the role technology can play in positively impacting lives around the globe. To date, members of the CGI community, including Cisco, have made more than 2800 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.

The 2014 Annual Meeting brought CGI members together under the theme “Reimagining Impact,” guiding members in better measuring and assessing the outcomes of their work, and rethinking how we create value through new approaches to address complex global challenges going forward.

Big ideas can change the world, and that’s why I truly believe in the big idea of national service. Young Americans today are facing the crisis of unraveling traditional communities and social structures. In fact, 1 million students drop out of school each year, and 17% of youth aged 16 to 24 are out of school and work. This isn’t just a problem about unemployment or a weak future workforce – it escalates to encompass poverty, illiteracy, food insecurity, homelessness, and a lack of healthcare – leading to a weakened civilization.

Cisco Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs Tae Yoo (second from left) joined representatives from the National Service Alliance and Lumina at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting on September 22, 2014 to announce their commitment to promote and support national service opportunities.

Cisco Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs Tae Yoo (second from left) joined representatives from the National Service Alliance and Lumina at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting on September 22, 2014 to announce their commitment to promote and support national service opportunities.

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5 Ways We Can Prepare the Next Generation of Workers for Tomorrow’s Technology

This blog was original published on the Huffington Post Impact X

Consider this: Many of today’s top jobs didn’t exist 10 years ago — jobs such as app developers, social media managers, and cloud computing administrators. And, by 2018, it’s predicted that there will be 21 billion networked devices and connections globally, up from 12 billion in 2013. The Internet of Everything (IoE) will bring everything together. But in our world of ever-expanding technology, it’s important to remember what makes these connections possible: people.

The good news is that the bourgeoning digital age is creating millions of information technology (IT) job opportunities for people. The bad news is that we aren’t developing IT talent fast enough to keep up with the pace of demand.

ManpowerGroup study shows that in the Americas, 39 percent of employers report hiring challenges caused by IT talent shortages. Acute shortages were reported by employers in Brazil, India, Turkey, Hong Kong and Japan, where that number skyrockets to 85 percent. And across the globe, engineers, technicians and IT staff are among the top seven hard-to-fill jobs.

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Reimagining Impact at the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative

September 18, 2014 at 10:16 am PST

Globally, 13 percent of young people – nearly 75 million people — are unemployed. In the Middle East and North Africa, this number rises to more than 28 percent. The issue is compounded when you factor in the 127 million unemployed adults worldwide. Meanwhile, 40 percent of employers in the United States, 65 percent in Brazil, and 64 percent in India report they are unable to fill job vacancies, potentially causing billions of dollars in losses.

Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers will address this issue on September 23 during a plenary session at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting.

Chambers will join moderator and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof for “Putting Education to Work,” a discussion on how CGI members can create real education-to-employment journeys for young people, retrain adults, and eliminate the barriers that prevent those traditionally left behind from gaining meaningful employment opportunities.

You can watch a livestream of this CGI session at 4:15 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, September 23.

CGI

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How We Can Build Tomorrow’s Workforce to Benefit Society

Today, AmeriCorps celebrates 20 years of “getting things done.” AmeriCorps has a huge impact in the United States. The program gives people the opportunity to work for a year with a nonprofit, school, public agency, or other organization that addresses societal needs.

Since 1994, more than 900,000 AmeriCorps members have contributed over 1.2 billion hours to some of our nation’s most pressing problems – poverty, illiteracy, food insecurity, homelessness, and lack of healthcare, to name a few.

AmeriCorps and other such “national service” organizations are a win-win for our society. They support communities, help people improve their lives, and provide additional “human capital” to organizations that serve disadvantaged people.

But they also help build a strong future workforce that is socially conscious, motivated, innovative, tenacious, and talented. While serving their communities, corps members develop and deploy skills in communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership — skills that employers increasingly say are vital in the workplace.

Young people who participate in "national service" support communities and help people improve their lives while developing skills that prepare them to succeed in the workforce.

Young people who participate in “national service” support communities and help people improve their lives, all  while developing skills that prepare them to succeed in the workforce. Photo courtesy the Corporation for National and Community Service.

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Cisco Recognized for Raising 55 Million Pounds of Food for Local Charity

Last night I was proud to join other Cisco staff and executives in accepting four “Making Hunger History” awards from the Second Harvest Food Bank near our San Jose headquarters.

Cisco has supported Second Harvest for more than 20 years, and in that time we have raised the equivalent of 55 million pounds of food for the organization!

Our employees volunteer there and make donations through our annual Global Hunger Relief Campaign, and we’ve provided several product and cash grants over the years, most recently to help the organization’s clients better utilize the CalFresh food stamp program (read my earlier blog on CalFresh). In 2012 Cisco employees contributed more than 4900 volunteer hours to Second Harvest.

Cisco received 4 "Making Hunger History" awards from the Second Harvest Food Bank on September 10. On hand to receive them were (l-r): Jessica Graham,  community relations manager; Randy Pond, senior vice president of operations; Curt Hill, VP of technical support; Rebecca Jacoby, chief information officer and a Second Harvest board member; and Ricardo Benavidez, senior community relations manager.

Cisco received 4 “Making Hunger History” awards from the Second Harvest Food Bank on September 10. On hand to receive them were (l-r): Jessica Graham, community relations manager; Randy Pond, senior vice president of operations; Curt Hill, VP of technical support; Rebecca Jacoby, chief information officer and a Second Harvest board member; and Ricardo Benavidez, senior community relations manager.

Second Harvest does important work. One in 10 residents of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties receives food from Second Harvest, and 40% of them are children. According to the 2014 Hunger in America report, clients receive assistance from Second Harvest Food Bank an average of 13 times per year, compared to the national average of 8 times. This could be a reflection of the high cost of living in California’s Bay Area.

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