Fostering science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education is a business imperative for Cisco. STEM careers are an important element of Cisco IT, and factor significantly in growing our diverse pool of talent and maintaining competitive advantage.

Cisco IT supports several company STEM initiatives through mentoring, IT training, and job programs with schools in local communities. We get to provide community outreach while helping to inspire and develop the next generation of IT talent.

We recently had the privilege to sponsor students from Cristo Rey San José Jesuit High School (San Jose, California) in conjunction with the school’s Corporate Work Study Program. In the program, groups of four students team up to alternate daily at an assigned job site while attending their regular classes the rest of the week. During the school year, we always had someone on site for a full day Monday through Friday. The high school takes care of all the administrative and legal logistics to ensure that a safe environment is provided for the students. Compensation from Cisco goes straight toward their school tuition. The work experience and knowledge they gain is an invaluable asset now and will be in their future professional careers.

These young people learned how to use and operate many of our technologies:  WebEx, Jabber, TelePresence, collaboration tools, video endpoints, IP phones, etc. They also learned firsthand how we leverage technology to improve our productivity and move the company forward. They worked on a variety of projects from providing calendar support for managers across the world to hosting our annual Cisco IT Cohort Program. The students created a case study about applying Cisco collaboration technologies in their high school, with recommendations on how the school and curriculum could benefit.

In between providing basic technical support, budget analysis, and employee engagement activities, they took a Cisco Networking Academy class about the Internet of Everything (IoE) and followed up by creating a case study on how IoE can be used in industries such as healthcare, sports and entertainment, public security, and agriculture.

Together with the students we embarked on an adventure of mutual learning and diversity of thought. The experience fostered a sense of community within our organization, and surprised a few of my colleagues who were amazed at the talent of these young interns.

Walt Disney said, “Nothing that is worth doing can be accomplished alone.” The STEM program’s success is the result of commitment by many Cisco IT employees.



Guillermo Diaz (center), Chief Information Officer at Cisco with Cristo Rey High School students.