Occasionally that small idea to help a certain few, gains enough momentum where it can help many more than its original scope of impact. Though Cisco Talent Bridge was created as an employment program for Cisco Networking Academy, in the past year, it has evolved so that the offerings are more easily available to audiences outside of our previous core focus.  

The biggest change was shifting of our flagship resource, the Talent Bridge Matching Engine (TBME) – a job matching tool, under a different organization at Cisco. The shift allowed a new synergy to cultivate and develop the platform in new ways. This growth has extended our reach to engage talent and attract more employers to the platform. The job opportunities posted on the platform now range from entry-level to senior positions and there is a wider array of job roles. Our candidate pool has grown beyond Networking Academy students/alumni and our employer participation has also more than doubled. 

As we augment the Talent Bridge program and what it includes – we realize there are many more communities that can benefit from the career resources. Users can easily access them through Networking Academy and Skills for All programs that fall under Cisco CSR. While our talent dedicated resources are developed with a Networking Academy focus, we are mindful of the broader reach outside of the CSR program. From a recent survey of participants of the Talent Bridge program for Networking Academy, 93 percent said the program helped them prepare for a job. (Source: Talent Bridge Student Employment Survey, 2021) 

We also actively work with multiple organizations at Cisco to simplify how they can leverage our Career Preparation Workshop. It is self-paced and offered through the Networking Academy. It helps create that bridge from wanting to find a job and obtaining a job, by preparing talent for the workforce. 

Growing our partner focus 

The program has always focused on supporting our ecosystem of employers but there is an even larger concentrated effort with the latest shift in strategy. Christopher Dempsey, Global Leader of Identify and Attract within People and Communities shares how Talent Bridge fits within his organization. “We continue to enhance TBME with the goal of providing our channel partners access to a state-of-the-art digital platform where they will be able to find talent and talent-related services relative to their needs. We are communicating directly to Partners and our internal partner ecosystem about the improvements we have made or will be making as we continuously improve the platform and explore other ways to help our partners.”  

Trent Dorroh, our Program Manager, who operates the Partner outreach and Matching Engine product, says that the platform “has continued to evolve, to expand its candidate pool from various diverse candidate sources as well as provide matching based on technical and business skills.” 

By becoming a cross-organizational program, our ability to support our Cisco Partners has grown – which shows itself in how we were able to bring many employers to the program.  

Our Networking Academy commitment 

Though the Matching Engine platform has migrated to a different organization within Cisco, it remains integral to the employment program for Networking Academy. Trent shares, “We are able to spotlight Networking Academy candidates visually in the Matching Engine and supply employers a filter that allows them to further sort and view only those candidates. We do this because we know the validated knowledge and skills that students attain through the curriculum is a valuable commodity to our employers. As the program further grows and develops, we will continue to work closely to connect them with potential employers.”  

Our Business Operations Manager within Networking Academy, Lynn Bloomer, shares her view of the program, that now falls under her management. “We see the Talent Bridge program as an integral part of Networking Academy. As we grow and transform how we help students gain the skills necessary to be part of the digital workforce, Talent Bridge supports our students in their journey from coursework to office work. Our robust employment program engages Cisco’s ecosystem of employers and promotes the hiring of our students in their companies. This directly correlates to our Networking Academy goal of transforming the lives of students everywhere.”  

In the first six years of the Talent Bridge program for Networking Academy, we have helped 33,000 IT Essentials and Cisco Certification students obtain a job, while 78,000 have used the program’s career resources. (Source: Talent Bridge Student Employment Survey, 2021) 

We are helping Cisco build a more inclusive future. By thinking of how we can help more people re-skill or enter the IT workforce, and by offering career resources that can bridge their information gap. 

If you would like to engage with the Talent Bridge team or learn more about the program, visit us at: cisco.com/go/talentbridge. 

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