News Release

Cisco Selects Jordan as Launch Pad for Global Talent Acceleration Program in Emerging Countries

New Initiative to Narrow Gap Between Supply and Demand of Regional Networking Talent
Nov 19, 2007

AMMAN, Jordan, November 19, 2007 - Furthering its goal to develop homegrown technical skills through education initiatives, Cisco® today announced the launch of its Global Talent Acceleration Program in emerging countries at a ceremony in Amman, Jordan. The event was presided over by H.E. Basem Rousan, Jordan's minister of information and communications technology; David Hale, U.S. ambassador to Jordan; and Wim Elfrink, Cisco's chief globalisation officer.

As part of an ongoing investment in the region, the Global Talent Acceleration Program is a long-term Cisco initiative aimed at developing next-generation local network consulting engineers (NCEs) for the company. Jordan initiative will act as a hub and cater to trainees across the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, the Levant and North Africa.

In emerging countries, Cisco aims to employ and train 96 recruits in fiscal year 2008 at the professional and associate levels. Selected students will be put through a rigorous program that combines theory, industry exposure and hands-on experience at regional Cisco technology academies. Cisco anticipates raising the number of recruits to 200 by fiscal year 2009.

"Cisco is growing rapidly in emerging countries, and we have witnessed that the demand for technical talent has undoubtedly exceeded supply", said Elfrink. "The launch of the Global Talent Acceleration Program in Jordan furthers our commitment to support governments in addressing the shortfall and in turn drive economic growth by training and recruiting local workers and reducing dependency on external hiring. We will work closely with local governments to nurture talent and bridge the gap between supply and demand, as we believe local or near-shore employees are best suited to understand and address the business requirements of their native regions.

He added, "By increasing the pool of skilled and certified local associate or professional engineers, the program will enable Cisco to better serve customers in emerging countries by providing a highly skilled workforce. Our investment will help foster a climate of confidence in which business and government leaders commit to major new projects."

Entry- or associate-level subjects for the program are typically recent college graduates and mid- or professional-level students who have significant prior experience with Cisco networking. After the completion of training, students will generally make the transition to full-time employment with Cisco Advanced Services as NCEs, working out of Cisco's regional service delivery hub.

Cisco Learning Solutions Partners, Synergy and Fast Lane will be the initial providers of Cisco learning courses for the program in Amman. Estarta Solutions, a strategic Cisco partner in the Middle East will host and manage the program training facility at its premises in Amman.

"The Global Talent Acceleration Program is a proof point of Cisco's culture as a corporation that acts responsibly to the people and countries where it operates," said Ziad Mortaja, regional general manager and director for Cisco Middle East, North Africa and the Levant. "We see ourselves as a responsible and long-term partner to businesses and communities in the region, and the new initiative marks a significant step forward in Cisco's service-delivery capability. With the availability of local skilled staff, Cisco will be able to provide its customers and partners with improved direct support. Furthermore, local network professionals will help meet regulatory targets and reduce the costs previously incurred in flying in global talent into the region."

"As one of Cisco's strategic partners in Jordan, we commend Cisco for this initiative," said Majdi Al Beit Shawish, CEO at Estarta. "The Global Talent Acceleration Program will provide us with the right resources to deliver large-scale network infrastructure projects in the region. We are enthusiastic about the program, which will allow us to enlarge our talent pool of service engineers with the consulting skills, know-how and experience to build, maintain and extend support to our customers."