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Cisco Investment in City Year Helps to Bridge Skills Gap in San Jose

June 21, 2014 at 8:20 am PST

Cisco has supported the communities where its employees live and work for close to 30 years.  We leverage our resources and technology to multiply individual and nonprofit efforts to improve people’s lives. One area Cisco focuses on is improving student performance in education, particularly in underserved communities. Cisco is therefore proud to partner with nonprofit City Year, a member of the AmeriCorps network. City Year recruits recent college grads who devote one year to help at-risk students stay in school.

Cisco is a national leadership sponsor of City Year and a local team sponsor in San Jose, California, the home of Cisco headquarters. Cisco funding recently supported 8 dedicated corps members at the Cesar Chavez Elementary School. Working full time for 10 months, corps members help high-risk students improve attendance, behavior, and course performance in English and math—the factors known as the early warning indicators for high school dropouts.

Happy graduation to the City Year team Cisco sponsored at Cesar Chavez Elementary School

Happy graduation to the City Year team Cisco sponsored at Cesar Chavez Elementary School

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Cisco Senior Leaders Mentor Students in STEM

June 14, 2014 at 8:30 am PST

This week in 9 Cisco offices around the world, 220 senior executives modeled some of Cisco’s core values by volunteering to mentor 400 students in STEM (science, technology, education and math). Cisco has been actively engaged in helping the communities in which our employees live and work since the company started in 1984. We do that by donating resources and product to global and community nonprofits and by encouraging our employees to volunteer. Cisco’s volunteer program started in 1992 and often includes matching cash grants for hours that employees work.

Cisco CEO John Chambers addresses Cisco senior leaders and 100 Girls Scouts at Cisco Headquarters in San Jose, CA

Cisco CEO John Chambers addresses Cisco senior leaders and 100 Girls Scouts at Cisco Headquarters in San Jose, California

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Cisco Employees Build Awareness about Hunger…Literally

Every year, during Cisco’s Global Hunger Relief Campaign, employee teams across our campuses design and construct “cansculptures” —  pieces of art made entirely out of canned goods (which are later donated to a local food bank), to raise awareness about hunger and our annual giving back initiative.

This year, Cisco employees in Lawrenceville, Georgia, Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina, and at the Kanata R&D site in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, created cansculptures, while a chalkboard artist in Boxborough, Massachusetts created a Global Hunger Relief chalk wall in the cafe.

The Lawrenceville choo-choo train delivers a coal car of food for the hungry.

The Lawrenceville choo-choo train delivers a coal car of food for the hungry.

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STEM Education Must be a Hands-on Approach

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are critical to innovation and the continued development of the U.S. economy. However, trends are showing that while there are and will continue to be plenty of jobs in these fields, many students are unprepared or lack the desire necessary for employers of the future to fill these jobs effectively.

In order to get more students interested in STEM, it is imperative that they learn through hands-on training, mentoring and demonstrations early in their education. In her latest blog, Amanda Williams, Community Relations Manager at Cisco, describes the importance of getting students physically involved in STEM to spark an interest for the future. Through the launch of the Cisco US2020 STEM mentoring initiative, Cisco employees are able work with students from various schools around the U.S. The students participate in activities such as robot building, engineering demos of circuit building, 3D printing, and pedal-a-watt to make a phone ring. Through this program, we are able to get students excited about the opportunities to learn more about STEM fields.us2020

While we still have a long road ahead of us when it comes to preparing and inspiring a future generation of STEM innovators, it’s encouraging to see students enjoying the learning process this new initiative provides. Read More »

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Cisco STEM Mentoring Events Aim to Inspire Students

By 2018, it is estimated there will be 1.2 million U.S. job openings in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. While that sounds like good news, there is an acute shortage of qualified applicants to fill these jobs. The students in our schools today simply don’t have the skills and desire needed to compete for these jobs, which means that our country won’t have the necessary workforce to fill critical roles in one of the strongest sectors of the economy.

Research shows that for kids to become interested in STEM careers, they must feel inspired. They need some sort of connection or a role model to look to for guidance. This is where Cisco sees a need that can be filled by its employees.

Cisco is a founding leadership partner of US2020, an all-hands-on-deck initiative that aims to connect more STEM professionals to students from kindergarten through college. As part of the US2020 initiative, Cisco will build on the expertise of its workforce and culture of giving back, with the goal of having 20 percent or more of employees volunteering at least 20 hours a year as STEM mentors by the year 2020.

Cisco's US2020 mentoring initiative gets underway in San Jose, California

Cisco’s US2020 mentoring initiative gets underway in San Jose, California

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