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Stop the CSR Pity-Fest, Tell the Whole Story

I met Daniel last month in Mexico City.  He is an outpatient at a drug rehabilitation center where we sponsor a Cisco Networking Academy.  Daniel and I met at the center, and then went together to his home in one of the poorest parts of Mexico City.  As we stood on the porch overlooking his neighborhood, Daniel told me that his family doesn’t believe he can make his way out of this life, can ever do something more.  The odds are certainly low; making a different life for himself, a life he’s never seen modeled, would be a dream come true but also a miracle. Read More »

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State of the Union Challenge: Teaching Skills that Lead to Jobs

As I listened to the State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening, my ears perked up when I heard these words “Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job”. While I agree that this is” inexcusable”, I couldn’t help but feel gratified that President Obama called attention to our deficiency in 21st century skills-based education.

Although unemployment continues to be a challenge in this country, the demand for technology specialists is on the rise. Projected to grow by 10, 20 and in some cases 50 percent in coming years, jobs like Computer Support Specialist, Analysts and Systems Administrators are in high demand. Read More »

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Networking Academy Brings Career Prospects and Hope to Deaf Students in Africa

December 12, 2011 at 8:53 am PST

Imagine you are 17 years old, you live in Kenya, and you are deaf. In this part of the world, deaf and disabled people are considered “cursed.” Your family is ashamed of you. You can’t communicate with them or with anyone else. Nor can you go to school, see a doctor, get a job, or make friends. You are alone, with little hope that your life will ever change. Now, imagine being able to personally help teenagers like this, without even leaving your office building.

Karim Remu, a Cisco systems engineer in Toronto, is doing it — by mentoring a group of deaf students who participate in a Cisco       Networking Academy program in Nairobi, Kenya designed just for them. If you aren’t already familiar with Cisco Networking Academy, it is a global program that teaches students how to design, build, manage, and secure computer networks. Networking Academy helps fill a mounting demand for network professionals worldwide, and also provides a path to a career and financial independence for participants.

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Networking Academy Students Shine at Cisco LIVE!

August 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm PST

An elite group from Cisco Networking Academy, consisting of 6 students and 1 instructor, were recently selected from dozens of applicants across the United States to participate at Cisco Live in Las Vegas, Nevada from July 6-14, 2011. As Cisco’s largest customer appreciation event, the team worked alongside Cisco engineers to help build and troubleshoot the massive Network Operations Center (NOC) which supported nearly 15,000 attendees at the event.  Dubbed the “Dream Team,” these student ambassadors engaged with customers, provided networking support as needed, attended technical sessions, and even got to enjoy some tourist attractions.

The students with Carlos Dominguez, Senior Vice President Cisco Systems

This unique development experience was sponsored by Cisco and included an opportunity to take a free certification exam at the conference.  None of the students were Cisco certified coming to the event, but 3 left CCNA Certified!  The Dream Team will continue to learn from the experience with access to Networkers Virtual which provides industry insight into the latest technologies and solutions available to Cisco customers.

A personal visit from Cisco Senior Vice President, Carlos Dominguez, was an additional surprise for the Dream Team.  He commended the value of the team’s efforts and encouraged them to continue to pursue their IT/Networking career paths (watch the video).

Local Las Vegas student, Chris Kordus, who is enrolled in the Networking Academy at College of Southern Nevada, was interviewed by a Las Vegas television station about his career change from the construction industry.

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Executive Social Engagement

March 22, 2011 at 7:33 am PST

Last week, the co-manager of the Cisco Networking Academy Facebook page (@HilalChouman) pointed out an amazing customer post to me.

Ricardo Beltran’s girlfriend had baked him a custom Cisco birthday cake that obviously showed his dedication to Cisco. He was so proud of it, that he shared it on the Networking Academy Facebook page for all 188k fans to see.

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