Corporate Social Responsibility

Case Study: Academy of Borderless Possibilities Russia

Increasing career opportunities for people with disabilities

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Cisco is combining its collaboration technologies and Cisco Networking Academy curriculum to help people with disabilities in Russia gain valuable skills in computer networking that are leading to jobs.

The Issue: Barriers to education and employment

Russia is expected to face a shortfall of more than 100,000 workers skilled in networking technology by 2016. Meanwhile, people with physical or sensory disabilities are not reaching their full career potential. Often their opportunities are limited by lack of access to education, workplaces, transportation, and other services.

  • Approximately 13 million people with disabilities live in Russia, about 9% of the population
  • Only 20% of working-age people with disabilities in Russia are employed
  • Russia will need 377,000 people with networking technology skills by 2016, but only has enough trained professionals to fill 2/3 of those positions.

The Solution: Free, remote ICT training

The Academy of Borderless Possibilities delivers information and communications technology (ICT) training to students with disabilities remotely, so they don’t have to overcome the challenges of leaving their homes. The program is a partnership between Cisco Networking Academy, the Moscow State Technical University of Radio Technology (MIREA), and Communications Technology Innovations (CTI), a Cisco partner.

  • Enrollment in Cisco CCNA courses is free
  • Students access training materials through the Cisco NetSpace online learning environment and attend instructor lectures through Cisco WebEx collaboration technology.
  • Using TermILab, an innovative virtualization tool created by MIREA, students perform the lab activities that are a hallmark of the Networking Academy learning model

Impact Multiplied

Students prepare for industry certifications that can lead to in-demand jobs. A new component of the program, the League of Responsible Employers, is helping graduates find jobs with partner companies like CTI.

  • 100 students completed the program in the first year alone.
  • Graduates can pursue globally recognized Cisco CCENT and CCNA certifications at a discounted rate.
  • Participants in the first cohort are now assistants for the second cohort of students.
  • Graduate Mikhail Gnedoy finished fourth in the Cisco Networking Academy NetRiders competition in Russia, earned his Cisco CCNA Security certification, and was hired by the SkillFactory online training center.

“Our goal is not only to prepare highly skilled networking specialists, but also to provide them with jobs.” Sergei Tulinov, founder of the Academy of Borderless Possibilities