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Young People Show Off Their IT Skills at Global Competition

It’s hard to believe 2 years have already passed since I first experienced WorldSkills in Leipzig, Germany. The intensity and energy of the week were unforgettable, so I’m excited to be back this year, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to experience it again.

I always feel inspired meeting young people who take their skills to the next level. WorldSkills is one of the best events to do just that – this vigorous 4-day competition tests young people’s vocational skills, ranging from hairdressing to carpentry to robotics to IT network systems administration. More than 1000 competitors travel from 50+ countries around the world with the hopes to take home a medal at the end of the week.

Cisco is a strong supporter of World Skills and the opportunity it provides for young people to showcase their talent. Specifically we sponsor Skill #39, IT Network Systems Administration. This year we will meet top talent from 36 countries who will compete in Skill #39 – the largest number in this skill ever. And, approximately 90% of them are enrolled in Cisco Networking Academy courses.

Jean-Philippe Desbiens represented Canada in Skill #39 at WorldSkills 2013. He was later hired  by Cisco in Montreal.

Jean-Philippe Desbiens represented Canada in Skill #39 at WorldSkills 2013. He was later hired by Cisco in Montreal.

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A Journey from WorldSkills to Cisco

closeupThis post was written by guest blogger Jean-Philippe Desbiens, 23, laboratory administrator at Cisco Montreal. 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 in July 2013 in Leipzig, Germany and is taking place again this week 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 WorldSkills 2013 in Leipzig, Germany

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Engineering a STEM mentoring moonshot

The following post was originally published in The Hill

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy laid out an ambitious goal for our nation – to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In doing so, he inspired a new generation and helped ensure U.S. global leadership in technology for years to come.

Today, we have an earthbound, but no less important, challenge. We face a massive skills gap — by 2018, our nation will have 1.8 million unfilled jobs requiring technical skills. Our nation’s business community is uniting to address the challenge.

We need to make sure that students of all backgrounds have the skills and opportunities to pursue a career in STEM– Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This requires a national strategy, a chief component of which is STEM mentoring by STEM professionals.

Why mentoring? Because students won’t do what they can’t see. It’s one thing to teach math and science in the classroom. It’s another thing to build, explore, and engage the incredible world of science and technology that is transforming our society in real-time. Hands-on learning is the way to get a diverse group of students excited about STEM.

STEM mentors at Cisco

Participants with Techbridge Girls visit Cisco’s San Jose, California headquarters during a STEM mentoring event in February, 2015.

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5 Ways Cisco Celebrates Youth World Skills Day All Year

Today, July 15, Cisco will join the United Nations in observing the first annual World Youth Skills Day — a global conversation about youth unemployment and the importance of giving young men and women around the world the skills to thrive in any workplace.

Through social media and the power of the Internet, we can bring awareness to this critical problem, which left more than 74.5 million young people without jobs in 2013. After analyzing the data, the United Nations General Assembly established World Youth Skills Day on November 11, 2014, and today, you can be part of the conversation by using the #wsyd hashtag.

Cisco Networking Academy students in Cambodia have access to online courses and interactive activities.

Cisco Networking Academy students in Cambodia have access to online courses and interactive activities.

Although this issue won’t be solved in a day, Cisco is committed year-round to helping young people develop valuable IT skills and launch their careers in this increasingly connected world.

Every day, our programs and partners are creating social change around the world and helping to close this growing skills gap:

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#CiscoChat: UN World Youth Skills Day Drives New Conversation on IT Skills Shortage

WYSDImageWorldYouthSkillsDay

We are living in an era of an increasingly connected economy and a business landscape that constantly has to keep pace for organizations to remain relevant and competitive. Thanks in part to the expansion of the Internet of Everything (IoE) (and the millions of connective touch points it supports), heightened cyber security needs, emerging technologies like SD WANs and the growth of STEM-based jobs, people with technical “know-how” are in extremely high-demand.

Despite this need for tech talent, at current rates, the number of available technical-related positions in the future will far outweigh the number individuals qualified enough to fulfill them.

As a result, in the last couple of years, the headlines have become increasingly intense and a critical question is echoing through the halls of technology C-suites.

Where is all of the tech talent?

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