WASHINGTON - October 3, 2007 - Cisco® Chairman and CEO John Chambers today called for governments and businesses to embark on an era of public-private partnerships aimed at ensuring that students gain the knowledge and skills necessary for U.S. competitiveness.
At a Capitol Hill event to mark the 10th anniversary of the Cisco Networking Academy®, an initiative that has provided more than 2 million students around the globe with critical information technology (IT) and networking skills, Chambers said business leaders must take more responsibility to refocus our educational system on the skills that students need to be successful in the modern economy.
"The future success of any nation depends on the quality of its education and the skills of its workforce," said John Chambers, Cisco Chairman and CEO. "No one entity, company or government organization can address this challenge alone. It requires collaboration on a very large scale between corporations and government organizations at the state and national level. Cisco is proud to be a part of this effort through the Networking Academy's innovative approach to reaching students, engaging them in learning and preparing them for careers in the 21st century."
The Higher Education Research Institute reports that the first wave of IT professionals will soon retire, leaving a large gap in the workforce. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, five of the fastest-growing occupations for college-educated job seekers through 2014 will be in IT. The Networking Academy, which began from a passion to make IT skills available to all, has become a successful model to help meet the demand for talent.
Students and instructors from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as government and education leaders participated in the event to celebrate the first decade of the Networking Academy and to discuss its goals for the future. In the United States, there are 69,500 currently enrolled students and more than 2,600 instructors in Networking Academy institutions.
The Networking Academy has demonstrated success in providing students of all ages and from all walks of life with the advanced IT and networking skills desperately needed in today's global economy. Graduates have benefited from gaining in-demand skills, increasing their earning power, and often advancing their education to aid in the development of their countries and local economies. Of those Networking Academy students who responded to a survey, 91 percent stated they use their newly acquired IT skills on a daily basis, while 40 percent reported the program has had a significant positive impact on their careers.
"The Networking Academy provided me with the knowledge and skills to advance my career," said Davion Crumel, a Networking Academy alumnus and now the director of the Cisco Academy Apprentice Program at Miami Dade County Public Schools. "After graduation, I built on the partnerships to help create internship opportunities between the academy students and local businesses to provide real-world skills. Through our district's IT department, we are growing our own talent pool and making an impact on these students' career paths and our local economy."
Networking Academy institutions are located in more than 160 countries around the globe via schools, colleges, universities and community-based organizations where they partner with educational, business, government and nonprofit organizations. Through the Networking Academy, these partners deliver the knowledge and training needed to grow the global IT workforce and encourage socioeconomic development in communities around the world. As a comprehensive e-learning program, the Networking Academy delivers Web-based content, online assessment, student performance tracking, hands-on labs, instructor training and support, and preparation for industry-standard certifications.
More Paths to Education, Careers
As Cisco Networking Academy begins its second decade, the program will reflect a heightened focus on student outcomes, providing different paths to education, certification and careers. Cisco recently launched a new segmented approach to the Networking Academy curriculum that accommodates differences in student capabilities, goals, and environments around the globe. And by continuing to forge unique partnerships with local governments, education institutions and private businesses, the Cisco Networking Academy will continue to teach, inspire and encourage people to pursue technology as a career path that makes a contribution while being personally rewarding. Networking Academy also helps build an important linkage between secondary and post-secondary schools by giving students credit as they enter college, encouraging more and more individuals to further their education.
"Community colleges play a pivotal role in workforce development by serving a highly diverse student population and providing the learning resources, skills and training required for success" said George R. Boggs, president and CEO, American Association of Community Colleges. "The growth and pervasiveness of the Networking Academy throughout the community college system over the last decade demonstrates the importance of partnerships between educators and industry leaders in ensuring the development of a talent pipeline equipped with the technology and IT skills required to sustain America's viability and productivity in the 21st century."
The Networking Academy, the cornerstone of Cisco's focus on promoting technical training and economic opportunity, represents a $300 million commitment to education thus far. Cisco is also engaged in a number of projects around the world to promote 21st-century learning; these include the Jordan Education Initiative in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the $40 million 21st Century Schools (21S) program in the U.S. Gulf Coast region to help transform education in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.
For more information about the Cisco Networking Academy Program, visit: http://www.cisco.com/go/netacad. For information on other Cisco global partnership programs, visit: http://www.cisco.com/web/about/citizenship/index.html.