Loretta Walker lives for her three daughters. As a single mom, she works hard to provide for her family. "They keep me motivated and keep me going," Walker says.
After going back to school and taking Cisco Networking Academy classes, Walker recently changed careers and is now employed as a customer engineer at KLA Laboratories in Dearborn, Michigan. "I used to be a correctional officer," Walker says. "I wanted a career where I knew I could live wherever I wanted to and have more financial freedom."
Education is key as Michigan leaders look to continue to accelerate the state's economy. Cisco is committed to closing the talent gap of skilled workers. To date, Cisco's Networking Academy has trained 30,000 Michigan students across 65 different academies.
That's one of the reasons Cisco and the state of Michigan are teaming up to bring one of Cisco's most important global programs to the United States. Cisco's Senior Vice President of the America's, Alison Gleeson, just announced that Michigan will become the first state to join the State Digital Acceleration (SDA) program, a 3-year collaborative program to advance the state's agenda. "Education and Networking Academy is the cornerstone of SDA, and we plan to more than double the enrollment in the state from 3,000 students today to 8,000 students by 2020," said Gleeson.
Walker knows first hand what an impact Networking Academy can have. "If you're considering a career in IT, you should go for it, especially if you're a woman," Walker says. "You can be successful. You can have a career that's life changing. The sky is the limit in IT."