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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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A Seismic STEM Challenge

Over 2000 innovators came together in San Jose recently to examine ways to ensure that buildings can survive powerful earthquakes.

This was no ordinary trade show. It wasn’t an industry conference filled with engineers and seismologists, policymakers and building managers. Instead, the more than 2000 participants were students, grades 4 through 12, from across Silicon Valley who came together for The Tech Challenge, a signature event of The Tech Museum of Innovation. Cisco has been the event’s presenting sponsor for five years.

The challenge was deceptively simple: design, engineer, and build a multi-story building able to withstand powerful seismic forces. Hundreds of teams spent the last 6 months researching seismic engineering, testing materials, and coming up with strong and flexible designs.

Then, these projects were put to the ultimate test: withstanding the earthquake simulator to see if the building survived intact.

The Tech Challenge is one of the most diverse science competitions in the United States

The Tech Challenge is one of the most diverse science competitions in the United States

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Cisco Live US 2015: Cisco CSR Partners Help to Speed the Pace of Social Change

Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility aims to empower global problem solvers with the skills they need to thrive and speed the pace of social change around the globe, but that mission wouldn’t be possible without the help of our partners, many of whom are here at Cisco Live US 2015.

At the Cisco CSR Booth in the World of Solutions, our partners are sharing their stories of creating social change around the world.

At the Cisco CSR Booth in the World of Solutions, our partners are sharing their stories of creating social change around the world.

If you haven’t had a chance, stop by the Cisco CSR booth (#1441) in the World of Solutions and meet six of our partners, including CyberPatriot, Digital Divide Data, NetHope, Water for People, NetDev Group, and Good World Solutions. Together, we’re bringing unique programs and services to people around the world and helping solve pressing social issues, from a growing IT skills gap to the global water shortage.

With these partners, you can become a global problem solver and make an impact in any corner of the world. Below, they share their stories of global impact and how Cisco is helping to speed the pace of social change.

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Introducing the Industry Talent Consortium

The Internet of Everything (IoE) will connect people, data, processes and things into a vast web of communication that is already dramatically changing how we live and work. Cisco projects that by next year, 25 billion devices will be connected, and that number will double by 2020. This expanded and enhanced connectivity carries tremendous opportunities for organizations and individuals as job roles and networks change.

An irony exists, though, in the midst of all this new opportunity. There are over 11 million unemployed people in the US today, yet 45 percent of employers cannot find qualified candidates for open jobs. Klaus Schwab, Chairman of the World Economic Forum, encapsulates our current dilemma: “We have entered a global economy where talent and skills shortages challenge economic and business growth around the world.”

The debate about whether the skills gap exists is over. It is real, and it is serious. The 2014 Cisco Annual Security Report indicates a shortage of more than a million security professionals across the globe in 2014. Employers are facing challenges finding people with the necessary skills for new industry jobs such as data scientists, cybersecurity specialists, industrial network engineers, mobile app developers and network programmers.

The business outcomes, productivity gains and organizational efficiencies that are attainable through IoT can only be achieved with a skilled and competent workforce. There is a need for reskilling the existing talent pool and bringing new employees into the workforce to align with the skills needed for the future.

A skills gap of this magnitude must be met head-on and as quickly as possible. It’s too big for any one entity to tackle; it requires a group of dedicated stakeholders. Toward that end, the IoTWF Steering Committee is introducing an Industry Talent Consortium It’s a gathering of employers, academia, industry change agents and human capital solution providers to connect talent who have pre-requisite skills to employers – after necessary training and certifications.

Key players in each of these areas will bring their subject matter expertise to the table:

  • Academia (The New York Academy of Sciences, MIT, Stanford) will help prepare students through degree programs, professional development and in partnering with companies to provide training for the jobs of the future.
  • Human Capital Solution Providers (Careerbuilder) will help identify top jobs, regions, supply/demand and skill gaps.
  • Employers (Rockwell Automation, Davra Networks, GE) are looking to hire individuals for the new job roles.
  • Change Agents (Cisco, Xerox, Rockwell Automation, Udacity, Pearson, Knod) will create education curriculum, training and certifications that will help train and validate the skills needed for the new jobs.

Working together, we will identify skill gaps, find talent with the right background to up-skill or re-skill, create and implement the needed training and certification programs, recruit them into appropriate degree or certificate programs and hire that talent for the jobs that will power the Internet of Everything. The Industry Talent Consortium is, in a real sense, a battle stance on behalf of our collective, connected future. The Consortium will continue to evolve, adding new contributing partners as its scope and scale increases.

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Employee Volunteers Initiate Creative CSR Activities in France

Cisco France has always had a special interest in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). We want to contribute to our country’s main economical and societal challenges. And we want to do it by using our expertise in network technology and our energy.

As everywhere, France faces many social, economic, and environmental issues. Let’s state a few:


Under the impulse of several Cisco employees, a team of volunteers came together to lead local projects. Five years later, the team is structured with a strategy, leaders, a coordinator, and an executive sponsor. We also aim to give our colleagues an additional reason to come and work every day: to contribute to a better world.

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