Today Cisco celebrated the 20th anniversary of Cisco Networking Academy, its IT skills and career-building program available to learning institutions and individuals worldwide. In these 20 years, the program has reached 7.8 million students in 180 countries and over 20,000 in Ireland, through 26 academies across the country.

Cisco Networking Academy is the company’s longest-running and largest corporate social responsibility program. The program provides a broad and deep IT curriculum for students of all backgrounds, teaching the hands-on technical and business skills they need to succeed. Additionally, with many industries experiencing a shortage of IT talent, Cisco Networking Academy seeks to give students the skills most in demand worldwide and helps create a trained, diverse workforce for the digital economy.

“We are delighted to be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Cisco Networking Academy and the training of over 20,000 students in Ireland through our IT skills career programmes. The future competitiveness of Ireland will be determined by our commitment as a nation and as employers, to ensure that we have the skills required for a thriving digital economy.” said Paul Kavanagh Country Manager of Cisco Ireland.

Since founding Networking Academy in 1997, Cisco has made $2.6 billion in in-kind contributions of tools, resources, and support to students, schools, and instructors worldwide. Curriculum and training for the network’s more than 22,000 instructors are provided free of charge to academy partners, which include secondary schools, colleges, universities, and other non profit community organizations. Since 2005, more than 1.6 million students who have completed advanced courses have gotten new jobs thanks to Cisco Networking Academy.

“Cisco is thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and academy partners over the past 20 years,” said Tae Yoo, senior vice president, Corporate Affairs, Cisco. “Together we’ve reached an incredible milestone in affecting 7.8 million people around the world.”

Cisco Networking Academy has a long history of promoting diversity in the tech field and providing unique learning opportunities to diverse students of all backgrounds. Today, 24 percent of students globally are female. In several developing regions, including Latin America and Africa, female enrollment is well above the global enrollment average. In the United States, 30 percent of enrolled students are underrepresented minorities (African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, or American Indian/Alaska Native), and numerous academies specifically serve military service members, veterans, and their families. Additionally, Cisco Networking Academy has made a commitment to benefit 10,000 people living with disabilities within the next five years.

The Networking Academy learning experience includes e-learning curricula; personalized assessments; and hands-on opportunities such as labs, networking simulation software, competitions, and hackathons. The global Cisco cloud-scale learning and assessment platform supports advanced simulations that model the evolution of digitization. It also provides improved analytics and insights that optimize the learning experience for students and inform program development.

“As we look ahead to the next 20 years for Cisco Networking Academy, we plan to grow our long-term partnerships around the world,” stated Yoo. “We’re proud of the effect Cisco Networking Academy has had globally and, in line with Cisco’s culture of innovation, will remain dedicated to evolving the program curriculum to meet the ever-changing IT skills employers demand, including big data and analytics, cloud, cybersecurity, automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.”

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