Cisco Networking Academy Launches Free IT Education to Empower All People With Career Possibilities
by Laura Quintana, Vice President, Corporate Affairs
People are wired with an innate desire to learn. Yet, while desire may be evenly distributed, access to education tools, resources, and opportunity is not. At Cisco Networking Academy, we believe that all people, regardless of where they live, their means, age, gender, or background, deserve equal access to education and the opportunity to pursue meaningful work that provides for themselves, their families, and contributes to the betterment of society.
For 23 years, Cisco Networking Academy has provided a bridge to career opportunities to more than 12.6 million people in 180 countries. Working with nearly 12,000 affiliated academies and more than 650 employers around the world, we have proven what’s possible when companies, non-profits, governments, and academic institutions come together for a shared purpose – empowering all people with career opportunities. Today, Cisco Networking Academy is the largest and longest-running corporate social responsibility education program in the world.
And, we have just begun.
Learning styles are changing. Social media redefines modes of engagement. Then, the pandemic upended, accelerated, and exposed underlying inequities. Workers without a college degree, women, ethnic minorities, and young people have been most affected by widening economic gaps. Digitization, which was already in play, is gaining a faster foothold. Meanwhile, companies across all industries are struggling to fill critical IT jobs in in-demand areas in networking, cybersecurity, and software development.
Cisco is addressing the challenge with the worldwide launch of Skills for All, a bold step forward in our purpose-driven mission to power an inclusive future for all. Skills for All is a free, mobile-first program that delivers leading-edge adaptive and gamified learning experiences, including self-paced courses, interactive tools, and career resources that are designed by industry experts. If an individual is connected to the Internet with a mobile phone, they are empowered as a learner at Skills for All.
This expansion of our Networking Academy mission will redefine education with a new skills-to-jobs experience. We have an aspirational goal to equip an additional 20 million learners with valuable digital skills over the next five years.
Skills for All is designed for learners like Marie Kamga, a Cisco Networking Academy alumna. She equally values the practical skills she has learned in her coursework and the attention she is getting from potential employers. Today, she is a cybersecurity intern preparing for a long-term career in the industry.
The Skills for All experience is designed to engage and nurture every learner’s own journey. We know that learners are more successful when their experience is tailored to their unique goals and interests. With evolving learning styles, we’ve reimagined a learning platform with adaptive learning technology, videos, and gamification built in. We’ve truly designed Skills for All to meet learners where they are.
At launch, Skills for All will offer a learning pathway featuring cybersecurity to prepare learners for jobs in this vitally important and job-rich industry. Soon, we will follow-up with courses about cloud infrastructure and automation with even more content to follow. Best of all, our curriculum is vendor agnostic so learners can get jobs with any company.
Cisco Networking Academy alumnus Billy Anglin shares his endorsement for Cisco Networking Academy’s model to offer real-world training that leads to high-quality, rewarding jobs. “If you want to guarantee yourself upward career mobility, then Cisco Networking Academy is a no-brainer,” he says. “The program ensures you get the essential training you need to be a viable contender in the cybersecurity field and that you develop a mindset that will take you leaps and bounds above your competition.”
Knowledge is not enough. We know that connections to jobs, certifications, and career resources is where learning translates to opportunity. Skills for All is backed by a job matching engine, an alumni network, employment partners, and more. It also makes access to jobs easier with entry-level certifications, requiring less time than traditional certifications. Learners also earn digital badges, a growing requirement of employers.
Circumstances of the past year have enabled us to crystalize and actualize the next leg of our mission at Cisco Networking Academy. Millions of people around the world need career opportunities that can grow with them, now and in the future. We are fully committed to being a bridge to those opportunities – and we’re just getting started.
Learn more at skillsforall.com.