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Training and Educating Latin America’s Future Workforce

More than 56 million people in Latin America rose above the poverty line between 2002 and 2011. Thanks to a thriving job market and rising wages, the middle class in the region grew by 82 million people in that time span, as more people discovered new economic opportunities in an increasingly connected world.

The explosion of people, processes, data, and things connected to the Internet — the Internet of Everything — has the potential to create even more growth and opportunity, for people and businesses alike. Consider this: by the end of this year, more than 15 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. And by 2020, this is expected to grow to 50 billion devices. All these connections will create new jobs, new businesses, and new career paths that don’t even exist today.


In 28 Latin American countries, more than 180,000 students are enrolled in Cisco Networking Academy courses, developing skills in networking, security, and cloud technologies.

Unfortunately, right now there is an obstacle to realizing this potential in Latin America. We need more people with the skills to digitize our economy. According to an IDC Report, there will be a shortage of 296,200 computer networking professionals in eight Latin American countries this year, leaving more than one third of these jobs unfilled. According to the World Bank Enterprise Surveys, 36 percent of businesses surveyed in Latin America say they struggle to find an adequately qualified work force, a percentage higher than in any other region in the world. This skills shortage poses a challenge for the economic development in the coming years.

Fortunately, the Cisco Networking Academy is helping people develop the IT skills that businesses need to grow and thrive in our increasingly digitized world. In 28 Latin American countries, more than 180,000 students are enrolled in Cisco Networking Academy courses, developing skills in networking, security, and cloud technologies.

A number of these employers recently shared with us how hiring Networking Academy students has helped them reach their business goals.

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Accelerate Job Creation through Social Incubators

This post was originally featured on Huffington Post ImpactX

This week, I’m excited to be a part of the SOCAP15 (Social Capital Markets) annual conference. This event convenes more than 2,000 impact investors, world-class entrepreneurs, and incubator managers, working together to create a better future through social entrepreneurship and impact investing. When you’re surrounded by the world’s leading social innovators, it’s impossible not to be inspired by the energy and the “what if” possibilities all around us.


For example, what if we empowered a new generation of global problem solvers to innovate rapidly? And then, what if we enabled them to use their innovations to bring creative ideas to market and launch startups that generate more jobs through a global incubator network?

In a recent blog post, I talked about youth unemployment—74 million unemployed youth globally in 2014 (International Labour Organization, 2014)—and a recent Gartner Study that defines the landscape of job opportunities related to the Internet of Everything (IoE). In order for countries to thrive in the new economy fueled by IoE and digitization, we must address not only unemployment but also job creation.

Today, I want to share the UBI Global Social Benchmark 2015 Report developed in partnership with Cisco Corporate Affairs. The goal of this benchmark is to better understand and measure the success of social incubators using over 40 key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success factors, such as the value created for the participating client start-ups as well as the economic and social impact.

According to the UBI report, social incubators have created more than 90,000 jobs over the last five years. Job creation will no doubt play a crucial role in addressing the global unemployment challenge, including jobs created within social enterprises.

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Three Ways We Can Impact the Future of Society and the Planet

This blog is also featured on Huffington Post ImpactX.

As a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), Cisco is committed to creating and implementing innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. In partnership with other global leaders, we’re tackling new issues every year, from closing the IT skills gap to creating new economic opportunities for individuals worldwide.

This year, nonprofit leaders, influential CEOs, and diplomats will come together at the CGI Annual Meeting under the theme of “The Future of Impact,” where they’ll collaborate to turn inspiring ideas into real-world results.

Together, CGI members have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries. Through countless public-private partnerships, we are preparing people around the world with the skills, technologies, and resources they’ll need to thrive in a connected world.

Through both our CGI commitments and our own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, we’ve learned what works to speed the pace of social change in communities worldwide:

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A Journey from WorldSkills to Cisco

closeupThis post was written by guest blogger Jean-Philippe Desbiens, 23, a Cisco Meraki consulting systems engineer. Cisco CCNA certified since age 17, Jean-Philippe is now CCNP certified and studying for his CCIE. He is involved in his community and is always eager to learn new technologies.

Did you know that every two years, a global competition for professional trades is held somewhere in the world? That event, called WorldSkills, happened last month in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

WorldSkills is an International competition that brings together young people from all around the world to fight for the title of “best of the world” in their trades. I was one of them, as I represented Canada in the category IT – Network Systems Administration in 2013 in Leipzig. I finished 6th out of 30 competitors and received a medallion of excellence. However, before getting in the world’s top 10, I had to follow a specific and special path.

Jean-Philippe competes at WorldSkills 2013 in Leipzig, Germany

Jean-Philippe competes at a prior WorldSkills event in Leipzig, Germany

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Robots Invade Cisco RTP Campus this Weekend

The Cisco Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina campus, normally quiet over the weekend, will be alive and buzzing with activity this Saturday, September 12, as hundreds of students, robots, coaches, and volunteers gather for a day of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning.

For the second year, Cisco RTP is hosting the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Kick-Off in partnership with North Carolina A&T State University (North Carolina FIRST Affiliate Partner for FTC) and NC FIRST Robotics. The centerpiece of the day: Congressman David Price will present the “Game Reveal”—when wide-eyed students learn the rules and guidelines for this year’s robotics competition, and are able to see the field of battle for the first time.

U.S. Congressman David Price attended the "Game and Field Reveal" during the First Tech Challenge Kick-Off event at the Cisco Research Triangle Park campus on September 12, 2015

U.S. Congressman David Price attended the “Game and Field Reveal” during the First Tech Challenge Kick-Off event at the Cisco Research Triangle Park campus on September 12, 2015

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