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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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Cisco Joins Prestigious Sustainability Organization

I am excited to announce that Cisco has joined The Climate Registry, a North American nonprofit organization that sets standards for calculating, verifying, and reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

climate-registryOur membership in The Climate Registry provides Cisco with the opportunity to share best practices to help improve corporate GHG accounting and reduction practices throughout the world. The mission of TCR also aligns with our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals around GHG reduction and reporting.

We’ve had goals in these areas since 2008, when we pledged to reduce our GHG emissions (Scope 1, 2 and business air travel scope 3, to be exact) worldwide by 25% by the end of 2012. (Check out this Greenhouse Gas Protocol infographic that explains Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions).

Since meeting that goal, we set several other aggressive goals for fiscal year 2017, such as reducing our GHG emissions by 40% and using electricity generated from renewable sources for at least 25% of our electricity every year. Measuring and reporting GHG emissions is a big part of setting and reaching these goals.

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Cisco Partner Community Solutions Exceeds Goal to House 100K Homeless

Chronic homelessness is a problem across the United States. Many homeless families and individuals are unable to break the cycle of poverty.

Cisco has supported  Community Solutions and its 100,000 Homes Campaign to find homes for 100,000 chronically homeless people across the United States by July 2014. We were thrilled when Community Solutions met its goal 1 month ahead of schedule. Homes have been found for more than 105,000 people, including over 31,000 veterans, in 186 participating communities.

Cisco’s initial Global Impact Cash Grant in 2012 supported the Sharing Innovations Initiative, which helped participating communities more effectively convene community members at Rapid Results Housing Boot Camps and webinars to transfer best practices, encourage and share innovation, and enable crowd-sourced problem solving.

Average monthly housing placement rates for chronically homeless individuals increased from 1.6 percent to 5.1 percent in just 6 months. This is more than double the program target of 2.5 percent per month.

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CSR Partner Good World Solutions Wins Social Entrepreneurship Award

September 5, 2014 at 12:45 pm PST

One of the nonprofits we support through our Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, Good World Solutions, has won a Gratitude Award for its innovative Labor Link mobile platform.

LaborLink uses mobile technology to give a voice to global factory workers and farmers, and delivers real-time data to companies like Cisco and Patagonia to align sourcing practices with worker needs.

For example, companies can use Labor Link to give workers valuable information on health, financial literacy, and education. Workers can use it to report anonymously on working conditions and job satisfaction directly to decision-makers at distant companies that buy the products they make.

In India, Labor Link is being used to measure the effectiveness of financial literacy training at 11 garment and footwear factories

In India, Labor Link is being used to measure the effectiveness of financial literacy training at 11 garment and footwear factories

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