The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicates that “Raising living standards [in Mexico] will require boosting productivity growth by improving the business climate, including…enhancing the skills across the population.”

The International Youth Foundation (IYF) took a pragmatic approach to this by undertaking research on the IT job postings in some Mexican states and analyzing the curriculum offered by the Colegio Nacional de Educacion Profesional (CONALEP), the largest technical vocational system in Mexico, with more than 300,000 students in 312 campuses across the country.

Identifying and addressing skills gaps

In doing so, IYF identified a lack of vocational orientation towards IT/networking opportunities, outdated curriculum in this area, and teachers without the updated skills and knowledge to guide learners. One OECD study found that 53 percent of teachers in Mexico reported the need for further training, particularly in information, communications and technology (ICT).

IYF saw the opportunity to use the Cisco Networking Academy program, Passport to Success, together with its own vocational program, Conmutación y Enrutamiento de Redes, to provide learners with digital skills development for the workforce of the future.

IYF and Cisco Networking Academy achievements

Because IYF is committed to measuring the skills learned, changes to livelihoods, and assessing outcomes on a systemic level, the success of the program has been clear:

Through 157 instructors on 55 CONALEP campuses in nine states,
15,000 students have participated, and the job attainment rate for graduates has been higher than 70 percent,
with many earning salaries higher than the average family income for Mexico.

IYF received the Sustainable Development Award for Training for Decent Work 2021 from the Monte de Piedad Foundation for this program. The expectation is that this could serve as proof that the Cisco Networking Academy and their own program could offer real opportunities for young people and could guide public policy for all vocational schools in Mexico.

IYF recognized the value of the Networking Academy program for its digital skills development potential, and the relevance of those skills to employers.

“Collaborating with the Cisco Networking Academy guarantees we offer high quality training, in skills relevant to the ICT industry, improving employment opportunities of nearly 15 thousand youth in Mexico. By working with Cisco, we can assure employers that our students are trained in the most relevant and high-quality skills, with the latest updates and evaluated with the same rigor with which the best professionals in the world are evaluated. It is a guarantee and a pleasure to walk hand in hand with Cisco”, says Alberto Peniche, IYF Director for Mexico.

For being a true believer in the program, and for advocating its implementation so widely in Mexico, IYF recently won a Be the Bridge award from Cisco Networking Academy. I’d like to thank IYF for its extraordinary vision, and for its dedication to helping with the inclusive digital skills development of youth throughout Mexico.

Students sitting in a computer lab and smiling at the camera.
Some of the 15,000 students at CONALEP’s 55 campuses across Mexico undertaking digital skills development.

About Cisco Networking Academy

Cisco Networking Academy is the world’s largest and longest-running corporate social responsibility education program in the world. We’re particularly proud of our collective impact, especially for under-resourced and underrepresented people in our communities.

Our mission is to empower all people with career possibilities by transforming the lives of learner, educators, and communities through the power of technology, education, and career opportunities.

We partner with nearly 12,000 education institutions across 180 countries and offer curriculum in 27 languages, having trained 15.1 million learners, with 2.9 million people attributing jobs to their experience with Networking Academy.

Our inclusive workforce development program equips educators with leading curriculum (licensed free to educational and non-profit institutions), Webex by Cisco, and resources and learners with industry-recognized skills and certifications. This is a true end-to-end, skills-to-jobs program, connecting learners with peers, mentors, and job opportunities through our job-matching engine, Talent Bridge.

For more information about our programs, please visit the Cisco Networking Academy page.

About International Youth Foundation

IYF® stands by, for, and with young people. Founded in 1990, IYF is a global nonprofit with programs directly benefiting 7.7 million young people and operations spanning over 100 countries so far. Together with local community-based organizations and a network of corporate, foundation, and multilateral partners, we connect young people with opportunities to transform their lives. We believe that educated, employed, engaged young people possess the power to solve the world’s toughest problems. Our vision is to see young people inspired and equipped to realize the future they want. IYF: Transforming Lives, Together.

To learn more, please visit www.iyfglobal.org


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Rebeca De La Vega

Cisco Networking Academy Regional Manager

Corporate Affairs