Workforce Spotlight: Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins

July 18, 2018

This week’s #WorkforceWednesday features Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, Inc. Through the “Cisco Networking Academy,” a world-leading information technology (IT) skills and career building program, Cisco is setting up workers for success in a growing digital economy.

As Chuck Robbins explains:

“It is critical for us to provide students and workers with the opportunity to develop the right skills, so they can not only participate in a world where technology is pervasive across all aspects of our lives, but also be prepared for jobs of the future.”

Here’s a look at the Cisco Networking Academy. Additional information can be found here.

The Problem

According to research by Gartner, by 2020, there will be an estimated 1.5 million new digitization jobs across the globe. However, many jobs go unfilled because today’s students lack the technology skills employers seek. For example, globally, 72 percent of CEOs say that the availability of key skills is a threat to their organizations growth prospects.

The Programs

Cisco Networking Academy, the company’s largest and longest running corporate social responsibility program, provides a comprehensive learning experience — online courses supported by interactive learning and network simulation tools, classroom instruction, integrated assessments with detailed feedback, and hands-on learning activities — preparing individuals for IT and networking careers in a range of industries.

Courses are taught in classrooms around the world and online through a cloud-based learning and collaboration environment. Students learn to solve problems in real time at hackathons, boot camps and skills competitions, developing in-demand skills. Students are also provided with career resources and connections to employers seeking IT talent.

Networking Academy works with a global network of more than 10,400 educational institutions, more than 1,750 of which are in the United States, to establish local initiatives that leverage Networking Academy courses. Additionally, Cisco partners with governments around the world to establish regional and local initiatives that leverage Networking Academy to promote workforce readiness and socioeconomic development.

The Progress

Cisco Networking Academy is the largest educational program of its kind, changing lives, education and economies. To date, the program has touched the lives of over 8 million people across 180 countries by providing the foundational digital and entrepreneurship skills that will enable them to prepare for IT and networking careers in a range of industries:

  • Over 8 million students have been reached to date, more than 1.4 million of whom are in the United States.
  • Cisco has set a goal to reach 2 million students annually through Networking Academy by 2021.
  • In FY2017, 1.33 million students in 10,400 academies across 180 countries were enrolled in courses taught by 22,000 instructors. Over 135,000 students were reached in FY2017 in the United States.
  • In FY2017, 24 percent of Networking Academy students worldwide were female. Some countries, such as Oman, Peru, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, and Tunisia saw female participation rates of 40–70 percent in 2017.
  • From FY05 to FY17, the program has helped 1.6 million students obtain a new job.
  • 92 percent of students indicated that they use their skills in their daily lives.
  • Cisco has contributed $3 billion of in-kind support to Networking Academy students, instructors and schools since the program was established.
  • Cisco Networking Academy is available on 24 U.S. military installations and has helped more than 73,000 military personnel develop information technology (IT) skills since 1997.

To learn more about workforce development initiatives led by Cisco and other Business Roundtable CEO member companies, please visit: