Today, July 15, Cisco will join the United Nations in observing the first annual World Youth Skills Day — a global conversation about youth unemployment and the importance of giving young men and women around the world the skills to thrive in any workplace.
Through social media and the power of the Internet, we can bring awareness to this critical problem, which left more than 74.5 million young people without jobs in 2013. After analyzing the data, the United Nations General Assembly established World Youth Skills Day on November 11, 2014, and today, you can be part of the conversation by using the #wsyd hashtag.
Although this issue won’t be solved in a day, Cisco is committed year-round to helping young people develop valuable IT skills and launch their careers in this increasingly connected world.
Every day, our programs and partners are creating social change around the world and helping to close this growing skills gap:
Cisco Networking Academy
Since 1997, Cisco Networking Academy has prepared more than 5.5 million people for the IT workforce, from the streets of Rome to Mexico’s border cities. The curriculum, which is available at over 9,000 academies in 170 different countries, not only prepares students with networking skills, but helps them develop the communication, problem-solving, and collaboration skills that employers demand.
Each year, Cisco delivers courses and curriculum to more than 1 million students in every corner of the world. With certifications, hands-on experience, and mentoring from Cisco employees, students leave academies prepared to succeed, whether they’re in a developing county like Cambodia or at the Stride Center in Oakland, California:
CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition
In today’s IT industry, cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing fields — from 2007 to 2013, job postings for cybersecurity were up 74 percent, and the demand is expected to grow by 53 percent through 2018, according to Stanford’s Peninsula Press.
Fortunately for students who want to fill those jobs, the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition gives them the perfect preparation. Teams of 2 to 6 students compete in preliminary, online rounds on weekends from October through January, and the top 30 teams advance to the national finals in Washington, D.C. in March.
Cisco began supporting CyberPatriot in 2012, creating an aspect of the competition focused on defending networks and mobile devices. With Cisco Networking Academy curriculum, tools, and employee mentoring, students who earn a trip to the national finals in Washington, D.C. are well prepared to defend virtual networks and protect critical services like email from attacks — at the competition and beyond.
Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team
After completing courses and earning their certifications, Cisco Networking Academy students have most of the skills they’ll need to get hired. However, gaining real-world experience helps them stand out with potential employers — the Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team gives them a chance to further develop their skills and work side-by-side with industry professionals.
For example, each year, 30 Cisco Networking Academy students are nominated by their instructors to work at Cisco Live US, Cisco’s largest customer event. For five years, another team has supported the NBA All-Star Game. There, they have the opportunity to network with experts in the field, showcase their skills for customers and employers, and work under pressure while setting up and maintaining massive event networks.
Each year, current and former Cisco Networking Academy students can compete in the NetRiders competition, an interactive networking skills contest from May to October that motivates students to pursue future education and training in the IT field. During the competition, they take a timed theoretical exam, use Packet Tracer, a Cisco Networking Academy tool, and participate in hands-on challenges designed to put their curriculum to the test.
Over 10,000 students from 111 countries competed last year, and the top four scorers from four international competitions were awarded a grand prize trip to Cisco’s main campus in San Jose. There, they networked with current Cisco employees and developed relationships that may lead to exciting internships or career opportunities in the future.
Girls Power Tech
The majority of young people who cannot find work live in developing countries — in those countries, a mere 27 percent of workers in the computer, science, engineering, and physics fields are women. Each year, Cisco participates in Girls in ICT Day, where we open our doors to young women around the world and inspire them to pursue careers in the IT industry.
As part of our Girls Power Tech Global Mentoring Initiative, employees at Cisco spend the day with girls ages 13 to 18, encouraging them to consider an education and career in IT through hands-on learning and inspirational presentations. This year, over 80 Cisco offices participated, and more than 3,000 girls from 50 different countries attended.
We’re excited to take part in the United Nations World Youth Skills Day, and we hope you’ll join us during the conversation. Be sure to follow Cisco CSR on Twitter, Facebook, and learn more about our programs on the Cisco CSR website.
Find out how to build the skills you need for lifelong employability by visiting the Cisco Networking Academy website today!