Cisco and its Least Developed Countries Initiative

By Scott Blacklin

Last fall, Cisco was selected as the International Community Service Award winner for its Least Developed Countries initiative, within its Cisco Networking Academy – an innovative education program that provides Information Technology skills to students globally to improve their career and economic opportunities.

To date (May 2008), the LDC Initiative has enabled more than 100,500 students in the developing world to obtain ICT skills and knowledge. These students also represent more than 180,450 successful course completions within the Networking Academy program and over 23,750 CCNA 4 graduates. Notably, women represent 29 percent of the Cisco CCNA 4 graduates in participating countries. More than 250 participating academies range from secondary schools and colleges to local institutions such as orphanages, prisons, and community centers. Of the students who responded to a 2007 global Networking Academy survey inquiring about job placement, 61% of respondents acknowledged that the Networking Academy helped them get a new job.

The Internet-based learning and educational opportunities have positively transformed communities by helping people develop the skills needed to find employment, improve connectivity, and make a better life for themselves and their families.

The U.S. Chamber’s Business Civic Leadership Center is calling for nominations for the 2008 Corporate Citizenship Awards.  The deadline for nominations is Friday, June 27.  To nominate your company, visit

Scott Blacklin is VP, Emerging Markets, Cisco Systems