stslatteThis post written by guest blogger Steve Slattery, Vice President of Unified Communications and Customer Engagement, Cisco


Nearly 60 10th graders from the Plano Independent School District STEM Academy came to Cisco’s Richardson, Texas, campus today to gain hands-on experience with the technology of tomorrow.

These students, who focus on science, technology, engineering and math – known as STEM — got career counseling from technology professionals, saw demonstrations of Cisco’s cutting-edge video and collaboration technologies, and engaged in speed mentoring.  To cap of an incredible day, the students had an opportunity to build their own ethernet cables and test them on phones by making live calls.

This is part of a series of STEM mentoring events taking place all week at three of Cisco’s campuses – Richardson, Texas; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; and Silicon Valley. Nearly 200 students and 200 Cisco employee mentors will participate in these events.

A Cisco employee mentor shares a demo with a student at a STEM mentoring event October 7 in Richardson, Texas.
Nearly 60 students and 33 Cisco mentors participated in a STEM event in Richardson, Texas, on October 7. The event is part of our commitment to the US2020 Initiative to have 20% of our workforce engaged in 20 hours of STEM mentoring per year by 2020.

For almost 2 decades, Cisco has made it a top priority to build a talent pipeline prepared to meet the demand for STEM professionals. Cisco invests in programs from kindergarten to college and beyond that are preparing a diverse generation of talent for careers in STEM.

But, given the looming talent gap, this work is even more important today. By 2018, there will be 1.2 million job openings in the United States in the fields that make up STEM. Without a major influx of talent, there will be a shortage of qualified applicants to fill these jobs. The 21st century workforce must develop a new set of skills to keep up with the next wave of innovation.

Cisco is a founding partner of US2020, an initiative that connects STEM professionals with students of all backgrounds, but especially girls and students from underserved communities. We’ve pledged that 20% of our U.S. employees will provide at least 20 hours of STEM mentoring per year by 2020.

Innovation is cultivated and nurtured in our students through their experiences in the classroom and programs such as the Plano ISD STEM Academy.

The jobs of the future in every industry will require that workers possess skills rooted in STEM education. Cisco is committed to encouraging Texas’s students to develop a life-long love for science, technology, engineering and math.

Read more about the STEM mentoring event in North Carolina.

Learn more about STEM@Cisco.

Steve Slattery leads the Unified Communications (UC) and Customer Engagement team for Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, driving the business strategy for Cisco UC and Video infrastructure as well as Customer Collaboration and Messaging. Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Queens University in Ontario, Canada and a master’s degree in business administration from University of Western Ontario.


Alexis Raymond

Senior Manager

Chief Sustainability Office