This guest post was written by Gena Pirtle, Marketing & Workforce Programs Manager for Cisco Corporate Gena-photo 2015Affairs. She has been with Cisco since 1998 and currently oversees the Talent Bridge initiative, connecting Cisco and its partners to world-class talent.

The NBA draws its fans by creating an environment of excitement and thrilling spectators with superstar athletes and explosive action. Cisco, the official technology sponsor of the NBA, has helped to enhance the fan experience through connected network solutions.

Behind the scenes, a group of Cisco Networking Academy students help make it possible for fans around the world to see the action as it happens. They’re part of the NetAcad Dream Team, a group of top United States and Canada students who gain real-world experience at NBA events and Cisco Live each year.


Cisco’s partnership with the NBA has created countless opportunities for these Dream Team participants, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in the IT industry. Since 2014, 91 students have participated in 13 global events around the world. Michael Gliedman, the NBA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, calls the Dream Team a “secret weapon” at events like the NBA All Star Games.

“Over the past few years, Cisco’s Networking Academy students have become a secret weapon for us at events. They are a great adjunct to the NBA IT team on-the-ground and work shoulder-to-shoulder with my team as they build out the infrastructure for major events such as the NBA All-Star game and the NBA Draft. The students are eager to learn and they work hard – certainly a great combination. We are delighted to continue working with the Cisco Networking Academy.”

This summer, the Dream Team will work on-site at two NBA events — the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery in Chicago and the 2016 NBA Draft in New York. But the opportunities don’t stop with the NBA. Cisco Talent Bridge, a new NetAcad employment program, connects pre-qualified students and alumni with career opportunities in the IT/networking field.


Dream Team participants gain visibility and exposure to jobs at Cisco and other employers who recognize Cisco NetAcad students as some of the most qualified entry-level candidates and future global problem solvers. There’s never been a better time to consider NetAcad talent as a secret weapon to build the future IT workforce.

Read more about the NetAcad Dream Team and see how hands-on experience is preparing today’s students for jobs in the industry!


Austin Belisle

No Longer with Cisco