Within the next five years, more than 1 million armed forces personnel are expected to transition from U.S. military to civilian life. As our veterans return from deployments such as Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them will need new jobs to support their families – and additional training to get those jobs.

Unfortunately, our veterans typically experience higher unemployment rates than the national average and sometimes have difficulty matching their skills and training with jobs in the private sector. That’s why Cisco established a corporate veterans program in 2011 to support veterans and their spouses. We provide funding, training, technical expertise and technology to help them through what can be a difficult transition period.

Through the 100,000 Jobs Mission, of which Cisco was a founding member along with JPMorgan Chase and other major corporations, our goal is to get 100,000 veterans hired by 2020. We’re well on our way to meeting that number early, as more than 64,000 have already been hired by member companies.

We partnered with Futures, Inc., a software firm that developed a cloud-based career and job portal for the armed forces that matches military job codes with corporate job openings. Through this partnership with Futures, Inc., we also developed Career Pathfinder, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America online portal that helps veterans find jobs as they transition to civilian life.

As announced by the White House earlier this year, Cisco is playing a key role in the administration’s “IT Training and Certification Partnership,” which is a public-private partnership that will enable service members to earn industry-recognized IT certifications before they transition from military service to the private sector. For example, in conjunction with partners Global Knowledge and Pearson VUE, Cisco provides ANSI-accredited Cisco training courses that enable military personnel to prepare for Cisco CCNA certification exams and other industry certifications at no cost to the participants. Cisco also encourages its more than 15,000 U.S. channel partners and suppliers to hire and train veterans.

Meanwhile, the Cisco Networking Academy, which is located on 21 U.S. military installations, has helped more than 32,000 military personnel advance their information and communication technology skills. In fact, as I wrote about yesterday, students from this academy built and ran the network at Cisco Live! in Orlando, Fla.

Finally, Cisco employees – many of whom are veterans themselves (approximately 2,500) – volunteer their time to support a variety of initiatives throughout the U.S. via the Veterans Enablement and Troop Support (VETS) Employee Resource Group (ERG).

Cisco is proud to help serve those who have served our country as they transition into the next chapter of their careers. Are you, or do you know, a veteran who has participated in any of these programs? We’d love to hear your story.


Patrick Finn

No Longer at Cisco