News Release

Cisco and CWA Partner to Provide Digital Opportunities to American Workers

Public and private sectors collaborate to use H1B funds to
Nov 30, 2000

Public and private sectors collaborate to use H1B funds to benefit U.S. workers

SEATTLE, Wash., November 30, 2000 - Cisco Systems, Inc. and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) today announced a partnership to provide technology training and job placement assistance for unemployed, underemployed, union and transitioning military American workers. A $1.3 million H1B grant is being used to fund the project.

"This alliance is a perfect example of public and private sectors working toward a common goal - to prepare the American workforce for jobs in the Internet economy," said Cisco Chairman John Morgridge.

"In today's high-tech industry, there is a skills shortage, not a worker shortage," said Morton Bahr, CWA President, explaining how CWA and Cisco have joined together to offer the skill training and job placement assistance that both workers and employees desire.

The Project, funded by an initial H1B grant of $1.3 million, is expected to provide high-tech training for some 2,000 students by the end of 2001. Currently, about 170 students are enrolled in the program, including transitioning military personnel, CWA members and workers who want to upgrade their technology skills.

Working together, Cisco and CWA could offer thousands of workers in high-tech the skills needed to remain competitive in the 21st Century. Cisco provides training and certification through the Cisco Networking Academy Program. CWA recruits participants and offers job placement assistance at the end of the program to such employers as Verizon, Qwest, Fluke and others. Stanly Community College of North Carolina provides the distance learning training infrastructure, educators and accreditation.

Major telecommunications companies have expressed considerable interest in this program to support their efforts to roll out new data and broadband capabilities and other services.

The U.S. Department of Labor, through its Veterans Employment and Training Services, also played a role in the initial program, by funding the Workforce Transition Project, a skills assessment and job placement program for men and women leaving the military service. The H1B grant enabled Cisco and CWA to expand the program to include students sponsored by community organizations, employed workers seeking to upgrade their skills and others who want to move into high-tech jobs of the future.

Funds for H1B grants are collected from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service from many high-tech employers across the country that contribute to the H1B visa program. Companies pay a fee to this pool to allow for foreign workers with high-tech skills to enter the U.S. to fill high-tech jobs where skilled U.S. labor is limited. H1B visa funds collected are, in turn, used to educate and retrain the U.S. workforce in high-tech skills that will prepare them for jobs in the Internet Economy.

About CWA

CWA represents some 740,000 workers in the telecommunications and technology, media, printing and publishing, broadcast and cable television, higher education, health care and public service, airline and manufacturing sectors. For more information, go to