Cisco launches workforce retraining initiative

Michigan is among the hardest-hit states in the country, with mounting job losses shaking the once-dominant auto industry. On Tuesday, President Obama said what nobody in Michigan wanted to hear—that the jobs that were lost in the auto industry over the past several months are not coming back. It’s a bold thing for a President to say, but it’s true, and it’s time to look for something new. Towards that end, the President announced a plan for a $12 billion program to boost community colleges, and to help more than five million more students graduate over the next decade.

Unemployed residents there, who once enjoyed high-paying, blue-collar factory jobs, are asking what will come next to replace the shuttered auto factories? It’s a fair question, and one to which Cisco may have an answer.

Yesterday Cisco announced its new Workforce Retraining Initiative (WRI) and pilot training program in Michigan. President Obama had mentioned the program directly in a speech recently at the Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan. Under the plan, Cisco will work with several educational institutions and other business leaders to implement the program, which will leverage the Cisco Networking Academy. The Academy, with 128,000 students at present, represents one of the best ways to get familiar with Cisco technology. Although the Academy does offer several programs, the WRI program in Michigan will target education for jobs that are in high demand, including broadband, network security, and health care information technology. Recent government initiatives to promote new technology in healthcare and broader use of electronic medical records make the latter category all the more important, and WRI will include a healthcare IT course to focus on this area. For job-seekers looking at the technology field, medical informatics and healthcare technology is the place to be. In fact, a recent report from the Michigan health and Hospital Association and the Michigan State Medical Society says that health care is now the largest source of private sector jobs in Michigan.

John Chambers, Cisco’s CEO, said “The Workforce Retraining Initiative will serve an important role by expanding training for well-paid, high-demand technology-based jobs.”

Michiganders can take advantage of the program at several community college and university locations starting in September.

This story, "Cisco launches workforce retraining initiative" was originally published by ITworld.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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