The U.S. faces an estimated 700,000 vacancies in cyber-enabled jobs. While this 21st-century crisis constitutes a near‐ and long‐term threat, it also presents an opportunity to employ a more diverse and inclusive workforce in entry level jobs with substantial income potential. This is why Cisco Networking Academy is involved in the Biden administration’s efforts to address the cyber workforce deficit and why I recently had my first-ever visit to the White House.

After celebrating Cisco Networking Academy’s 25th anniversary in October, I proudly represented Cisco at the White House on November 15, 2022, to mark the culmination of the administration’s 120-day Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint. The event brought together government, industry, and academic leaders to promote and drive apprenticeship opportunities aligned with the Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship Program, which connects job seekers looking to learn new skills with employers searching for qualified workers. It was a momentous opportunity to bring together so many people who are committed to creating job opportunities while solving an important industry need.

Apprenticeships are an important component of our skills-to-jobs commitment and workforce development strategy.

To date, we have trained 2.7 million students globally

with cybersecurity skills since 2003, including 161,000 here in the U.S.

At the event, I discussed how apprenticeships, community colleges, and alternative learning pathways not only help close the talent gap but also expand opportunities for underserved and underrepresented individuals to enter careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

I also committed Cisco support of national guideline standards for three apprenticeship occupations to enable our vast Networking Academy ecosystem to establish apprenticeships aligned with the Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship Program.

In the U.S. alone, Cisco Networking Academy partners with 49% of all community colleges

and many non-profit organizations, with 3,000 instructors who teach at nearly 1,700 academies.

And I announced that Cisco’s cybersecurity threat intelligence team, Cisco Talos, will leverage these standards in launching their cybersecurity apprenticeship program.

The apprenticeship sprint was kicked off by National Cyber Director Chris Inglis during the Cyber Workforce and Education Summit earlier this year, in July. At that event, Cisco Executive Vice President and Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer Francine Katsoudas announced Cisco’s pledge to provide cybersecurity training to an additional 200,000 U.S. students over the next three years.

We are proud of our track record in reaching 17.5 million students globally in 190 countries over the past 25 years, with 95% of students that take our certification-aligned courses obtaining a job or education opportunity.

Cisco welcomes this opportunity to provide the U.S. government with our resources, expertise, partner ecosystem, and solutions so that we can address the cyber skills shortfall, power an inclusive future for all, and bolster access to education.


Laura Quintana

Vice President and General Manager

Cisco Networking Academy