The Future of STEM: Cisco Networking Academy Turns 20
by Donna Eason, Marketing Manager, U.S. Education
At a recent event in the Missouri state capitol, Cisco Networking Academy commemorated its 20-year anniversary with 120 graduates of Missouri programs. This anniversary marks a major milestone for the internationally recognized education program, which was launched in 1997 to help educate a workforce skilled in STEM disciplines. (Read Why Cisco? to learn more about Cisco in education.) In Missouri alone, a student can study at one of the 44 Networking Academies offered across the state.
Speaking at the Missouri event, Cisco Senior Vice President of the U.S. Public Sector Larry Payne noted, “The Cisco Networking Academy is a program we developed in the 90s to help fill the need and have an educated workforce for the IT industry. What it does is allows us to not only fill the needed positions, but it also allows students the opportunity to be trained and learn a craft that is very well paid and very much in need.” Read the full Missouri Times article here.
Tre Malik, a Missouri graduate who is currently employed as a network engineer at an Internet service provider, gives credit for his achievements to Cisco Networking Academy, “NetAcad is the reason for my success. It opened so many doors and opportunities just two years out of high school.”
How Networking Academy is helping close the skills gap
Today, Cisco Networking Academy runs thousands of academies in more than 180 countries. It engages 1.3 million students annually, offering training in disciplines like cybersecurity, networking, IoT, and programming. Courses are delivered in 19 languages. In key areas of the U.S., Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, Networking Academy programs support the needs of local communities and prepare students for careers that are in worldwide demand.
This demand for talent is real and significant. Globally, available IT jobs are increasing faster than the supply of skilled graduates, and in the U.S. alone, 93 percent of employers report a gap between current and desired skills of IT staff (CompTIA’s IT Skills Gap study). In addition to learning critical STEM skills, Networking Academy students—who attend at schools, colleges, and universities; through community programs or military and government agencies; as well as in apprenticeships and internships—also gain less tangible skills like collaboration, leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Networking Academy programs also benefit underserved, disadvantaged, and disabled students. In India, for example, the “NetAcad without Borders” (NWB) program delivers braille-based Networking Academy courses to the visually impaired. A similar program in Kenya delivers courses to hearing-impaired individuals, and there is a facility in Ukraine devoted to teaching orphans.
Networking Academy is Cisco’s longest-running corporate social responsibility program and is supported worldwide by public-private partnerships with educational institutions, nonprofits, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government agencies, and community centers.