The following is based on an excerpt from the 2021 Cisco Purpose Report, published on December 13, 2021.

After nearly five years in the U.S. Army, Averi Hall was concerned about the transition back to civilian life. “I’ve known a lot of veterans who struggle with their career when they get out,” she says.

Hall found the perfect stepping-stone, however, in the Department of Defense SkillBridge program, through which service members spend the last six months of their active duty gaining skills at a private-sector company. While Cisco has sponsored SkillBridge participants on an informal basis in the past, we became approved to formally offer the program, and expect to welcome at least 20 SkillBridge fellows per quarter. “The program made transitioning to Cisco Sales a welcoming, meaningful experience,” says Hall.

SkillBridge is just one of many programs that Cisco offers to help U.S. service members and their spouses find jobs in the IT industry. Other signature programs include the Veterans Talent Incubation Program (VTIP), a 20-week program through which veterans can access free Cisco Certified Network Associate training and get hired into network engineering roles at Cisco. Through CyberVetsUSA, a tech industry consortium, we help connect veterans and spouses with training, certification, and employment at a range of leading technology companies. We also train service members through Cisco Networking Academy at military installations worldwide.

Our offerings for veterans are always evolving. We recently launched the Military in Sales and Leadership (MISL) program to help recruit top military talent into sales and engineering roles. Onward to Opportunity, a global nonprofit that provides free technology training and certifications and is a longtime Cisco partner, is now a Networking Academy partner, allowing us to expand our reach and provide more veterans with a pathway to meaningful career opportunities. As a result of these programs, Cisco was recently named one of the top 10 military-friendly employers in the U.S. and U.K. by Military Friendly and Armed Forces Covenant.

For Hall, early exposure to Cisco helped put her on a new career path. “I was able to network while still in the Army, which helped me find the right sales position for me.” She now works for Cisco full-time as a renewals manager at our Research Triangle Park campus in North Carolina.

To learn more about the progress we’re making to power a more inclusive future through CSR, visit our Cisco ESG Reporting Hub, where you can read our 2021 Cisco Purpose Report.

2021 Cisco Purpose Report cover



Gena Pirtle

Veteran & Workforce Programs Manager

Corporate Affairs