Last week, Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina was announced as a winning city in the US2020 City Competition! Cisco is a founding corporate partner of US2020, which is dedicated to igniting a movement of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) mentorship across the United States. My work supporting the US2020 City Competition initiative, on behalf of Cisco in RTP, afforded me the great privilege of being 1 of 4 people from our community who visited the White House to hear this great news. It was a full day, and one that I will never forget!
“President Obama’s announcement represents one of many important steps required to address global concerns about privacy and data collection. Our customers require that privacy, security, and transparency be at the foundation of the equipment, services, and capabilities they purchase from technology companies. We remain committed to working with our customers, technology providers, and governments to deliver on the promise of a global, secure Internet.”
(Editor’s note: you can view President Obama’s speech here.)
President Obama’s announcement today is a major step toward bringing our nation’s classrooms into the 21st century. A modernized e-rate program will lay the groundwork for connected classrooms across the country, where students have digital textbooks and access to libraries of information at their fingertips. This will help our children and grandchildren prepare for an ‘Internet of Everything’ future where technology is integrated into all aspects of work and life.
Under the leadership and vision of Mooresville Graded School District superintendent Dr. Mark Edwards, the Mooresville Middle School where the President made his announcement is a model for how technology can transform a classroom. We at Cisco stand ready to work with the Obama Administration and the FCC to replicate this model around the country.
There are certain things in life most would consider “once in a lifetime” occurrences. The feeling that you get when your dad releases his grip one last time – and you find yourself riding a bicycle on your own; or waking up in amazement as you discover money from the tooth fairy under your pillow after losing your first tooth.
On November 4, 2008 – people all over the world witnessed a once in a lifetime moment when Barack and Michelle Obama won the race to the White House – becoming America’s first African American President and First Lady. It was only in my wildest dreams that I would ever have the pleasure to meet them both.
Approximately 1.2 million armed forces personnel are expected to transition from the U.S. military to civilian life over the next several years, with as many as 300,000 in the next 12 months. Many of these veterans will look to move quickly into the next phase of their careers and need to find fulfilling jobs that will enable them to build upon their military experience and support themselves and their families. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 10.1 percent jobless rate for post 9/11 veterans and exceeding 30 percent for veterans ages 18-24. It is imperative that, as a country, we come together to fix this. We must provide the training, certifications and jobs that our veterans have earned and deserve.
As an example of what we hope public private partnerships will do for our veterans who have given so much for our country, I look at Courtney Beard, a Cisco employee, who transitioned from active duty Air Force service in September 2011 with very little IT training. Coming from a family with a long history of military service, she knew at a young age that she would serve her country but she did not think much about what life would look like after she returned home. Highly skilled, and capable of excelling in the most difficult of circumstances, she still faced challenges finding a meaningful job aligned with her future goals; the process included resume critiques, regular attendance at job fairs, and participating in the Warrior to Cyber Warrior training and mentorship program with other veterans.
People like Courtney are the driving force behind the White House IT Training and Certification Program – an initiative to help transitioning military personnel make the difficult shift to the civilian workforce by obtaining the necessary training and certifications needed for high demand IT jobs. Debuted today by First Lady Michelle Obama, the program – in partnership with Joining Forces and the President’s Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force – will actively engage 1,000 transitioning military personnel in training, certification and career resources. The concept and platform behind the program was developed with leadership from Cisco and Futures, Inc. This public-private partnership exemplifies business and government working together to make a difference in our economy, our businesses and our country.