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Students in Chile Hope to Fill Growing IT Skills Gap

It’s not often that I get to meet with hundreds of passionate students who are eager to learn! That was the scene at the Cisco Networking Academy Student Day this week in Chile, which was an incredible chance to meet students and instructors and speak about their future careers in technology.

The Cisco Networking Academy helps individuals prepare for industry-recognized certifications and entry-level information and communication technology (ICT) careers in virtually every type of industry. Nearly 30,000 students participate in the program each year in Chile, and worldwide the number reaches over 1 million.

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STEM Education Must be a Hands-on Approach

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are critical to innovation and the continued development of the U.S. economy. However, trends are showing that while there are and will continue to be plenty of jobs in these fields, many students are unprepared or lack the desire necessary for employers of the future to fill these jobs effectively.

In order to get more students interested in STEM, it is imperative that they learn through hands-on training, mentoring and demonstrations early in their education. In her latest blog, Amanda Williams, Community Relations Manager at Cisco, describes the importance of getting students physically involved in STEM to spark an interest for the future. Through the launch of the Cisco US2020 STEM mentoring initiative, Cisco employees are able work with students from various schools around the U.S. The students participate in activities such as robot building, engineering demos of circuit building, 3D printing, and pedal-a-watt to make a phone ring. Through this program, we are able to get students excited about the opportunities to learn more about STEM fields.us2020

While we still have a long road ahead of us when it comes to preparing and inspiring a future generation of STEM innovators, it’s encouraging to see students enjoying the learning process this new initiative provides. Read More »

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Connecting Qualified Veterans To The Jobs They Deserve

November 11, 2013 at 7:00 am PST

It’s Veterans Day, and Cisco is proud to support veterans and their families in many ways. For one, we look for opportunities to hire veterans at Cisco: Courtney Beard is just one our most recent hires.

We also train veterans and military personnel for future careers in information and communications technology (ICT) through the Cisco Networking Academy program. More than 41,000 people have participated in Networking Academy courses on military base locations since 1997. And through tuition assistance and the GI Bill, veterans can enroll in Networking Academy courses offered at accredited community colleges and post-secondary institutions. Matt Heffler is one of many veterans who have found a second career thanks to Networking Academy.

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Breaking Down Barriers to Children’s Healthcare in Brazil

November 8, 2013 at 3:36 pm PST

sergipe_mapThis week, Cisco launched its newest CSR program – Connected Healthy Children – Brazil.

Much of the Brazilian population lives far away from major cities, so distance can pose a real barrier for children who need specialized medical care. For example, 41 percent of all infants under age 1 and 90 percent of newborns with congenital heart disease are in remote areas.

Connected Healthy Children – Brazil is intended to help reduce the disparity of access to specialized care between urban and rural areas. In the northeastern state of Sergipe, Cisco is partnering with the state’s only University Hospital in Aracaju to support remote consultations for patients and families, and also improve education, training, and decision-making for care teams.

Advanced telepresence and collaboration systems and cloud technology will connect Family Health Clinics in Tobias Barreto and Lagarto with pediatric specialists at the Federal Medical University campus in Lagarto and the University Hospital in Aracaju. A team enabled with mobile technology will provide specialist access to even more remote areas.

The launch event on November 4, 2013 at the Federal University of Sergipe was attended by approximately 150 people in person and remotely via Cisco TelePresence video conferencing solution – one of the technologies being deployed for Connected Healthy Children -- Brazil.

We will report more on the impact we are having on children’s healthcare in Brazil in the coming months. Please follow Cisco CSR on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ to stay informed!

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Removing Language Barriers from Math Education Improves Student Achievement

What if your biggest challenge in learning math was that you could not understand the words that the teacher used to convey math concepts? That the language in the math book was not your first language? Or that your learning disability involved difficulties with words and reading?

Dr. Matthew Peterson, co-founder and COO of MIND Research Institute, knows what that’s like. He is dyslexic. But after completing an undergraduate triple major and a Ph.D. in visual neuroscience, he decided to try to figure out a way to teach math that minimizes the use of words, but maximizes student understanding and achievement.

 

Dr. Peterson’s stunning innovation is called ST Math, a web-based, self-paced software program that uses language-free animation to help students grasp key math concepts. This resource is offered to students in addition to regular classroom instruction, twice a week.

It turns out that all students, regardless of language or culture of origin, gender, and in some cases even learning disability, do far better at math when they have additional help from solving the ST Math exercises.

As we outlined in an earlier blog post, Cisco’s initial expansion support for ST Math in Silicon Valley and in Arizona has shown strong student performance gains of double to triple growth in math proficiency. Our newly supported 22-school Virginia ST Math pilot sought to replicate these successful outcomes.

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