Cisco Systems’ Networking Academy hosted its annual Job Shadow Day on Feb. 2, coinciding with Phil the Groundhog’s celebrated jaunt outside of the Punxsutawney, Pa.-based hole in which he resides. (Six more weeks of winter by the way, for those of you who missed it.) Unlike Phil, Cisco’s Job Shadow Day did not disappoint, with hundreds of students turning out in locations across the country to learn about career opportunities in information technology.
“This is kind of our fifth year,” said Gene Longo, senior manager of the Cisco Networking Academy’s field operations in Canada and the United States. “The first year, we did it with only a handful of schools. Four years ago, we really started to focus in on making this a national effort. I challenged my team to have one event in every state in the country, and we’ve actually surpassed that by quite a few.” In fact, the Cisco Networking Academy now hosts Job Shadow events at between 80 to 100 different sites per year, although not all of them are held on Feb. 2. Last year, about 2,000 high school and college students participated in the program, a number Longo projected would rise by 50 percent this year.
The appeal of the program is the opportunity to see the practical application of concepts the students have mainly learned in the abstract so far and help them build relationships in the IT community, Longo said. “We want to provide them with real-world examples of what…
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