(Bismarck, ND) -- Governor Doug Burgum Tuesday announced an expanded partnership with the Cisco Networking Academy skills-to-job program called Skills for All that will be available to all residents in North Dakota.
North Dakota is the first state in the nation to provide these courses statewide at no cost to all residents. The Cisco Networking Academy Skills for All program provides free, quality, mobile, self-paced, online learning aligned to industry jobs, providing a pathway to a career in technology. There are numerous courses, badging and industry certifications available, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, along with coding, networking essentials, Internet of Things and other technology-focused courses.
“This statewide program will greatly benefit the people of North Dakota by providing opportunities to acquire best-in-class skills in highly sought after, in-demand and growing professions,” said Burgum in a statement released to WDAY Radio. “Skills for All provides North Dakota residents from all backgrounds and experiences the opportunity to obtain 21st century skills and help our state build a strong and competitive workforce.”
“With Tuesday's announcement expanding Cisco Networking Academy coursework to all of North Dakota’s nearly 800,000 residents, Governor Burgum and his administration are helping bridge the digital skills gap and helping Cisco deliver on our mission to power a more inclusive future for all,” said Francine Katsoudas, Executive Vice President and Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer at Cisco. “As a result of this announcement, North Dakota will be an even better place to study, invest in a career, and build a business. IT skills are in high demand today and even more so in the future, and North Dakota will be well positioned to provide that workforce for years to come.”
North Dakota’s expansion of Cisco Networking Academy Skills for All is part of an overarching statewide initiative, dubbed PK-20W, to reflect the education continuum of pre-kindergarten through Ph.D. programs and the workforce, with a vision of “Every Student. Every School. Cyber Educated.”
EduTech, a division of North Dakota's Information Technology Department devoted to PK-12 educational technology and citizen outreach through the PK-20W Initiative, already offers Cisco Networking Academy courses free of charge, including to tribal nations. The Skills for All program expands the number of courses offered from seven to almost 25, and new course modules are continually being added.
“In the 21st century, nearly every job in every industry is a computer job. Providing free technology courses to citizens of North Dakota will allow for exciting opportunities for adults to expand their credentials in high-demand jobs from any industry,” North Dakota Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley said. “This helps our state lead nationally with an educated and skilled workforce with a massive competitive edge.”
The expanded statewide program was announced Tuesday at the White House Cyber Workforce and Education Summit in Washington, where North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott shared the announcement.
“The Cisco-North Dakota initiative is historic, the first of its kind in the country. With this Cisco program, more North Dakotans gain access to training and knowledge that will help them prosper and more fully participate in our digitizing economy and society,” Hagerott said.
For a list of courses and more information, click here.