News Release

Cisco Systems Announces New Initiative to Further Address Demand for Qualified Networking and IT Professionals

Work-Based Learning Initiative Links Channel Partners with
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Jun 19, 2000

Work-Based Learning Initiative Links Channel Partners with Networking Academies to Help Students Transition from the Classroom to the 'Real-World'

SAN JOSE, Calif., June 19, 2000 - Cisco Systems, the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, today introduced a new learning initiative designed to enrich its Networking Academy curriculum by providing students with real-world experience - via internships, mentor programs and on-the-job training - with local Cisco channel partners. The Cisco Work-Based Learning Initiative, which features a Web site with search and matching functions, offers Networking Academies and channel partners a useful resource for forming collaborative agreements. The new initiative further highlights the Cisco commitment to addressing the global need for more qualified networking and information technology professionals.

The Cisco Networking Academy Program teaches students the basics of networking technology. The program is experiencing phenomenal growth, currently Cisco hosts more than 3,600 Networking Academies, teaching more than 81,000 students in 64 countries. While the program focuses on teaching students the skills for success in the Internet economy, ultimately students transfer their classroom knowledge to actual work environments. By helping establish internships, on-the-job training and mentoring as a part of the Networking Academy curriculum, the Cisco Work-Based Learning Initiative serves as a timely response to this critical transitional challenge.

"The complexity surrounding the design, implementation and maintenance of a converged network has caused the demand for highly trained technicians to skyrocket. Currently there are more than 800,000 job openings for network specialists and that number is expected to grow to more than three million in the next five years," said Kevin Warner, director of Worldwide Education at Cisco Systems. "In order to develop a more highly trained workforce our Networking Academies need to add 'real-world' work experience to their curriculum. The new Work-based Learning Initiative leverages the power of the Internet ecosystem, helping Networking Academies collaborate with channel partners to offer students 'real-world' work experience."

Successful Collaboration Agreement

Cisco is committed to helping Networking Academies find and form collaboration agreements with local channel partners interested in furthering the development of a more qualified workforce. Cisco recently helped Macon Technical Institute, a Cisco Networking Academy and TechLAN, a Cisco Premier reseller, establish one of the first collaboration agreements between a Networking Academy and channel partner. As part of the agreement TechLAN will offer internships to Macon Tech students internships, providing the valuable hands on training required to succeed in the New World economy.

"I think the Cisco Networking Academy curriculum is fabulous, but the one thing missing was real-world experience. And you can't duplicate that in the classroom," said Gardner Long, information technology department head at Macon Technical Institute, an associate-degree-granting college in Central Georgia with a student population of more than 4,000. "We needed a local partner to help us provide our students with the real world work experience they need to succeed. With Cisco's help, we formed a partnership with TechLAN, which has proven to be an extremely successful collaboration effort. In fact, the agreement has been in place for just over a month and we already have more than 15 former and current students working at TechLAN."

"To succeed in this era of emerging technologies, we need skilled employees to meet the demands of our customers," said Leland Lee, President and CEO, TechLAN, located in Macon, Georgia. "By entering into a collaboration agreement with Macon Tech, we have a pool of knowledgeable students at our disposal, enabling us to quickly fulfill the needs of our customers. On top of that, with the proper mentoring and hands-on experience, well-trained Macon Tech students become well-trained TechLAN employees, giving us two significant competitive advantages."

Web Site Features & Function

The Work-Based Learning Initiative features a Web site that is equipped with search and matching functions that links Networking Academies and channel partners in one centralized location. Networking Academies can find channel partners interested in offering hands-on opportunities, and channel partners can search for Academies with students that match needed skill sets, experience and location.

Getting Involved

To get involved in the Work-Based Learning Initiative, go to the Web site (http://wbl.netacad.net) and sign up to become part of the Cisco database of participating partners, Academies and qualified students. Information about the Cisco Networking Academy Program is available at http://www.cisco.com/edu/academy.