Future of Work Podcast, Episode 1.

Pat Romzek discusses Cisco’s Project Life Changer, an inclusive hiring program focused on hiring and retaining employees who have disabilities. What started out as a volunteer pilot program is now helping to transform the hiring and employment programs at Cisco.

This podcast is developed in partnership with Workology.com as part of PEAT’s Future of Work series, which works to start conversations around how emerging workplace technology trends are impacting people with disabilities.

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Welcome​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Workology​ ​podcast​ ​a​ ​podcast​ ​for​ ​the​ ​disruptive  workplace​ ​leader.​ ​Join​ ​host​ ​Jessica​ ​Miller-Merrell​ ​founder​ ​of​ ​Workology.com.​ ​As​ ​she  sits​ ​down​ ​and​ ​gets​ ​to​ ​the​ ​bottom​ ​of​ ​trends​ ​tools​ ​and​ ​case​ ​studies​ ​for​ ​the​ ​business  leader​ ​H.R.​ ​and​ ​recruiting​ ​professional​ ​who​ ​is​ ​tired​ ​of​ ​the​ ​status​ ​quo.​ ​Now​ ​here’s  Jessica​ ​with​ ​this​ ​episode​ ​of​ ​Workology.    Jessica:​ ​​[00:00:25]​ ​​Welcome​ ​to​ ​a​ ​new​ ​series​ ​on​ ​the​ ​Workology​ ​podcast​ ​that​ ​we’re  kicking​ ​off​ ​that​ ​focuses​ ​​ ​on​ ​the​ ​future​ ​of​ ​work.​ ​This​ ​series​ ​is​ ​in​ ​collaboration​ ​with​ ​the  partnership​ ​unemployment​ ​and​ ​accessible​ ​technology​ ​or​ ​PEAT.​ ​You​ ​can​ ​learn​ ​more  about​ ​PEAT​ ​at​ ​peatworks.org.    Jessica:​ ​​[00:00:38]​ ​​In​ ​2016​ ​the​ ​Department​ ​of​ ​Labor​ ​reported​ ​the​ ​rate​ ​for  unemployment.​ ​For​ ​those​ ​with​ ​a​ ​disability​ ​was​ ​ten​ ​point​ ​five​ ​percent​ ​this​ ​Talev​ ​poll  remains​ ​largely​ ​intact​ ​and​ ​presents​ ​a​ ​great​ ​opportunity​ ​for​ ​businesses​ ​who​ ​are​ ​looking  to​ ​hire​ ​employees​ ​to​ ​fill​ ​open​ ​roles​ ​within​ ​their​ ​organization.​ ​The​ ​question​ ​is​ ​how​ ​do  companies​ ​find​ ​engage​ ​and​ ​retain​ ​this​ ​untapped​ ​talent​ ​market.​ ​Today​ ​I’m​ ​joined​ ​with  Pat​ ​Romzek.​ ​He​ ​is​ ​an​ ​executive​ ​consultant​ ​with​ ​Project​ ​life​ ​changer​ ​at​ ​Cisco.​ ​Pat  welcome​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Workology​ ​podcast.    Pat:​ ​​[00:01:12]​ ​​It’s​ ​just​ ​great​ ​I​ ​appreciate​ ​it.​ ​It’s​ ​great​ ​to​ ​be​ ​here.

Jessica:​ ​​[00:01:15]​ ​​Let’s​ ​talk​ ​a​ ​little​ ​bit​ ​about​ ​your​ ​background​ ​so​ ​give​ ​listeners​ ​some  insights​ ​into​ ​who​ ​you​ ​are​ ​and​ ​how​ ​you​ ​came​ ​to​ ​Cisco​ ​and​ ​Project​ ​Life​ ​Changer.    Pat:​ ​​[00:01:25]​ ​​Well​ ​think​ ​you​ ​just​ ​go​ ​for​ ​a​ ​for​ ​allowing​ ​you​ ​to​ ​be​ ​part​ ​of​ ​this.​ ​You​ ​know  it’s​ ​interesting​ ​my​ ​background.​ ​I​ ​actually​ ​this​ ​wasn’t​ ​part​ ​of​ ​my​ ​job.​ ​I​ ​was​ ​a​ ​I​ ​lead​ ​cloud  strategy​ ​for​ ​Cisco​ ​I​ ​left​ ​Cisco​ ​in​ ​March​ ​of​ ​this​ ​year​ ​I​ ​retired​ ​actually​ ​my​ ​day​ ​job​ ​was​ ​in  the​ ​area​ ​of​ ​sales​ ​sales​ ​leadership​ ​executive​ ​roles​ ​at​ ​Cisco​ ​over​ ​the​ ​last​ ​16​ ​years.     But​ ​I’m​ ​a​ ​special​ ​needs​ ​dad​ ​and​ ​I​ ​became​ ​aware​ ​of​ ​the​ ​terrible​ ​statistics​ ​around  employment​ ​of​ ​people​ ​with​ ​disabilities​ ​that​ ​you​ ​mentioned​ ​earlier.​ ​And​ ​I​ ​was​ ​in​ ​you  know​ ​I​ ​guess​ ​I​ ​challenge​ ​myself​ ​to​ ​do​ ​something​ ​about​ ​it.​ ​So​ ​I​ ​started​ ​this​ ​project​ ​life  change​ ​a​ ​couple​ ​of​ ​years​ ​ago​ ​at​ ​Cisco​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​outside​ ​my​ ​day​ ​job​ ​is​ ​really​ ​as​ ​a  volunteer​ ​leader​ ​and​ ​it’s​ ​taking​ ​on​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​of​ ​a​ ​life​ ​of​ ​its​ ​own​ ​and​ ​then​ ​subsequently​ ​to​ ​my  retirement​ ​in​ ​March​ ​Cisco​ ​asked​ ​me​ ​to​ ​come​ ​back​ ​and​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​lead​ ​this​ ​project.​ ​As  a​ ​consultant​ ​so​ ​that’s​ ​what​ ​I’ve​ ​been​ ​doing​ ​most​ ​recently.​ ​But​ ​it’s​ ​an​ ​area​ ​of​ ​great  interest​ ​and​ ​passion​ ​for​ ​me.    Jessica:​ ​​[00:02:24]​ ​​Well,​ ​walk​ ​us​ ​through​ ​what​ ​Project​ ​life​ ​changes​ ​so​ ​that​ ​we​ ​kind​ ​of  can​ ​put​ ​everything​ ​together.    Pat:​ ​​[00:02:30]​ ​​Okay​ ​great.​ ​Yeah.​ ​Project​ ​Life​ ​Changer.​ ​We​ ​started​ ​a​ ​couple​ ​of​ ​years  ago​ ​and​ ​it​ ​was​ ​myself​ ​and​ ​a​ ​small​ ​group​ ​of​ ​folks​ ​that​ ​endeavor​ ​to​ ​make​ ​a​ ​difference​ ​in  employment​ ​of​ ​people​ ​with​ ​disabilities​ ​in​ ​Cisco​ ​as​ ​a​ ​technology​ ​company.​ ​Our  company​ ​is​ ​a​ ​collaboration​ ​solutions​ ​globally.​ ​We​ ​use​ ​it​ ​every​ ​day.     And​ ​because​ ​of​ ​this​ ​technology,​ ​I’m​ ​working​ ​out​ ​of​ ​my​ ​home​ ​office.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​the  opportunity​ ​to​ ​work​ ​anywhere​ ​anytime.​ ​And​ ​I​ ​had​ ​this​ ​notion​ ​that​ ​why​ ​couldn’t​ ​we  leverage​ ​technology​ ​to​ ​try​ ​to​ ​make​ ​a​ ​difference​ ​in​ ​employment​ ​for​ ​people​ ​with  disabilities.​ ​A​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​money’s​ ​been​ ​spent​ ​over​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​long​ ​period​ ​of​ ​time​ ​as​ ​you​ ​know  Jessica​ ​and​ ​it​ ​really​ ​hasn’t​ ​had​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​impact.​ ​So​ ​what​ ​we​ ​were​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​do​ ​is​ ​make​ ​a  difference​ ​leveraging​ ​technology​ ​and​ ​we​ ​have​ ​this​ ​idea​ ​that​ ​work​ ​is​ ​something​ ​you​ ​do  not​ ​a​ ​place​ ​that​ ​you​ ​go.  And​ ​our​ ​concept​ ​was​ ​to​ ​use​ ​collaboration​ ​solutions​ ​technology​ ​to​ ​allow​ ​people​ ​with  disabilities​ ​to​ ​work​ ​in​ ​a​ ​virtual​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​you​ ​know​ ​work​ ​environment​ ​work​ ​from​ ​home​ ​to  eliminate​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​barriers​ ​to​ ​employment.​ ​It’s​ ​really​ ​grown​ ​quite​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​since​ ​that  early​ ​those​ ​early​ ​days.​ ​It’s​ ​still​ ​fundamentally​ ​part​ ​of​ ​what​ ​we’re​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​do​ ​with​ ​Life  Changer​ ​but​ ​we’ve​ ​we’ve​ ​we’ve​ ​gone​ ​well​ ​beyond​ ​just​ ​a​ ​technology​ ​based​ ​solution  into​ ​embedding​ ​it​ ​into​ ​our​ ​process​ ​and​ ​culture​ ​and​ ​making​ ​part​ ​of​ ​what​ ​we​ ​do​ ​at  Cisco.

Jessica:​ ​​[00:03:49]​ ​​So​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​things​ ​I​ ​liked​ ​about​ ​Project​ ​Life​ ​Change​ ​and​ ​I​ ​thought  was​ ​interesting​ ​is​ ​that​ ​it​ ​isn’t​ ​just​ ​limited​ ​to​ ​a​ ​single​ ​disability​ ​like​ ​say​ ​Project​ ​Life  Changer​ ​isn’t​ ​an​ ​autism​ ​hiring​ ​or​ ​down​ ​syndrome​ ​hiring​ ​specific​ ​disability​ ​program​ ​for  Cisco.​ ​Why​ ​did​ ​you​ ​guys​ ​decide​ ​to​ ​go​ ​that​ ​direction?    Pat:​ ​​[00:04:09]​ ​​It’s​ ​a​ ​great​ ​it’s​ ​interesting.​ ​It’s​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​the​ ​evolution​ ​of​ ​this​ ​so​ ​I​ ​remember  it​ ​was​ ​a​ ​volunteer​ ​project​ ​that​ ​I​ ​started​ ​in​ ​as​ ​time​ ​went​ ​on​ ​we​ ​had​ ​more​ ​and​ ​more  success.​ ​We​ ​did​ ​a​ ​pilot​ ​in​ ​San​ ​Jose​ ​California​ ​actually​ ​in​ ​us​ ​and​ ​that’s​ ​where​ ​our  headquarters​ ​are.​ ​We​ ​hired​ ​some​ ​people.​ ​What​ ​we​ ​found​ ​was​ ​we​ ​learned​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​the  process.​ ​But​ ​what​ ​we​ ​found​ ​was​ ​there​ ​was​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​global​ ​opportunity​ ​here.​ ​So​ ​then​ ​we  moved​ ​last​ ​year​ ​into​ ​pilots.     We​ ​did​ ​one​ ​in​ ​San​ ​Jose​ ​continue​ ​the​ ​pilot​ ​in​ ​San​ ​Jose​ ​with​ ​some​ ​non-profits​ ​in​ ​the  state​ ​of​ ​California​ ​there.​ ​But​ ​we​ ​also​ ​did​ ​pilots​ ​in​ ​Bangalore,India​ ​where​ ​we​ ​hire​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of  people.​ ​Other​ ​pilots​ ​include​ ​Brussels,​ ​Belgium;​ ​San​ ​Paulo,​ ​Brazil​ ​and​ ​some​ ​and​ ​a  couple​ ​of​ ​other​ ​smaller​ ​locations.​ ​These​ ​are​ ​large​ ​employment​ ​centers​ ​where​ ​Cisco  hires​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​people​ ​and​ ​we​ ​endeavor​ ​to​ ​think​ ​could​ ​we​ ​make​ ​a​ ​difference​ ​not​ ​only​ ​in  the​ ​U.S.​ ​but​ ​in​ ​some​ ​of​ ​these​ ​other​ ​markets.​ ​And​ ​based​ ​on​ ​the​ ​success​ ​that​ ​we​ ​had​ ​in  those​ ​places​ ​we​ ​then​ ​expanded​ ​the​ ​program​ ​to​ ​really​ ​be​ ​global​ ​in​ ​nature​ ​and​ ​focusing  across​ ​geographies​ ​in​ ​disability.     You​ ​asked​ ​the​ ​question​ ​about​ ​disabilities​ ​some​ ​programs​ ​that​ ​some​ ​companies​ ​have  are​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​one​ ​disability.​ ​What​ ​we​ ​found​ ​is​ ​great​ ​success​ ​across​ ​the​ ​entire  disability​ ​spectrum.​ ​You​ ​know​ ​we’ve​ ​hired​ ​people​ ​when​ ​we​ ​did​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​pilots​ ​we​ ​did  in​ ​Bangalore​ ​we​ ​hired​ ​a​ ​large​ ​group​ ​of​ ​people​ ​that​ ​were​ ​visually​ ​impaired​ ​they​ ​were blind.​ ​We​ ​think​ ​about​ ​how​ ​hard​ ​is​ ​it​ ​to​ ​be​ ​an​ ​engineer​ ​at​ ​Cisco​ ​in​ ​our​ ​technical​ ​center  in​ ​Bangalore,​ ​India​ ​when​ ​you’re​ ​blind.    Pat:​ ​​[00:05:37]​ ​​And​ ​what​ ​we​ ​found​ ​is​ ​that​ ​these​ ​people’s​ ​productivity​ ​was​ ​so​ ​high  despite​ ​their​ ​visual​ ​impairment​ ​that​ ​it​ ​led​ ​us​ ​to​ ​start​ ​looking​ ​in​ ​other​ ​areas​ ​as​ ​well.​ ​So  we’ve​ ​now​ ​hired​ ​across​ ​really​ ​the​ ​disability​ ​spectrum​ ​about​ ​30​ ​percent​ ​of​ ​the​ ​people  we’ve​ ​hired​ ​them​ ​visually​ ​impaired​ ​about​ ​40​ ​percent​ ​mobility​ ​impaired.​ ​Remember,​ ​we  started​ ​Jessica,​ ​with​ ​this​ ​notion​ ​of​ ​you​ ​know​ ​location​ ​independent​ ​in​ ​our​ ​virtual  employment​ ​flexible​ ​employment​ ​environment​ ​where​ ​people​ ​could​ ​work​ ​in​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​a  flexible​ ​work​ ​environment​ ​so​ ​mobility​ ​impairment​ ​about​ ​40​ ​percent​ ​of​ ​the​ ​people​ ​we  did​ ​hire​ ​and​ ​we’ve​ ​hired​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​people​ ​with​ ​autism​ ​as​ ​well.     We’ve​ ​been​ ​hiring​ ​people​ ​with​ ​autism​ ​for​ ​a​ ​long​ ​time​ ​in​ ​the​ ​tech​ ​industry.​ ​But​ ​20  percent​ ​of​ ​the​ ​people​ ​we’ve​ ​hired​ ​have​ ​been​ ​people​ ​with​ ​autism​ ​and​ ​then​ ​the  remaining​ ​10​ ​percent​ ​are​ ​a​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​other​ ​disabilities​ ​and​ ​hearing​ ​impaired​ ​and​ ​other  things​ ​by​ ​it​ ​has​ ​been​ ​across​ ​the​ ​spectrum​ ​in​ ​what​ ​we​ ​try​ ​to​ ​do​ ​is​ ​not​ ​be​ ​prescriptive​ ​to  say​ ​we’re​ ​only​ ​going​ ​to​ ​hire​ ​certain​ ​types​ ​of​ ​people​ ​and​ ​we’re​ ​only​ ​going​ ​to​ ​hire​ ​certain  types​ ​of​ ​people​ ​in​ ​certain​ ​locations.​ ​We​ ​tried​ ​to​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​where​ ​we​ ​had​ ​the​ ​greatest  opportunity​ ​for​ ​success​ ​which​ ​typically​ ​we’re​ ​in​ ​these​ ​large​ ​employment​ ​centers.​ ​And  then​ ​what​ ​we​ ​tried​ ​to​ ​do​ ​is​ ​to​ ​recruit​ ​the​ ​best​ ​candidates​ ​in​ ​those​ ​locations​ ​for​ ​roles  and​ ​then​ ​we​ ​accommodated​ ​them​ ​in​ ​the​ ​roles.​ ​Does​ ​that​ ​make​ ​sense.

Jessica:​ ​​[00:06:54]​ ​​Yes.​ ​So​ ​you’re​ ​saying​ ​that​ ​you​ ​have​ ​focused​ ​in​ ​really​ ​three​ ​target  areas​ ​as​ ​far​ ​as​ ​geographic.​ ​So​ ​San​ ​Jose​ ​Bangalore​ ​Bangalore​ ​and​ ​Brussels.​ ​How  many​ ​people​ ​have​ ​you​ ​hired​ ​throughout​ ​the​ ​entire​ ​existence​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Life​ ​Changer  Program.    Pat:​ ​​[00:07:13]​ ​​We’ve​ ​now​ ​moved​ ​into​ ​what​ ​we’re​ ​calling​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​a​ ​systemization​ ​you  know​ ​our​ ​full​ ​integration​ ​mode​ ​at​ ​Cisco​ ​So​ ​we’re​ ​really​ ​embedding​ ​this​ ​whole​ ​idea​ ​of  life​ ​changer​ ​in​ ​hiring​ ​people​ ​with​ ​disabilities​ ​as​ ​a​ ​foundational​ ​fundamental​ ​strategy​ ​in  terms​ ​of​ ​what​ ​we’re​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​do​ ​around​ ​talent​ ​as​ ​a​ ​company.​ ​So​ ​it’s​ ​gone​ ​beyond  those​ ​locations.​ ​Those​ ​were​ ​the​ ​locations​ ​where​ ​we​ ​we​ ​did​ ​pilots​ ​where​ ​we​ ​hire​ ​most  of​ ​the​ ​people​ ​are​ ​in​ ​these​ ​large​ ​employment​ ​centers.​ ​So​ ​Bangalore,​ ​India​ ​we’ve​ ​hired quite​ ​a​ ​few​ ​people​ ​we​ ​part​ ​people​ ​in​ ​Brussels​ ​we’ve​ ​hired​ ​people​ ​in​ ​Sao​ ​Paulo​ ​we’ve  hired​ ​people​ ​in​ ​San​ ​Jose,​ ​Raleigh,​ ​North​ ​Carolina;​ ​and​ ​Krakow​ ​Poland.     Most​ ​large​ ​companies​ ​tech​ ​companies​ ​especially​ ​typically​ ​have​ ​these​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​locations  where​ ​they’re​ ​hiring​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​people​ ​and​ ​that’s​ ​where​ ​we’ve​ ​tried​ ​to​ ​focus​ ​our​ ​energy  where​ ​we​ ​had​ ​large​ ​critical​ ​mass​ ​of​ ​candidates​ ​employees​ ​in​ ​new​ ​hires.​ ​Now​ ​in​ ​terms  of​ ​your​ ​point​ ​about​ ​how​ ​many​ ​we’ve​ ​hired​ ​we’ve​ ​hired​ ​about​ ​100​ ​people​ ​prescriptively  meaning​ ​that​ ​we​ ​have​ ​identified​ ​opportunities​ ​requisitions​ ​positions​ ​that​ ​we  intentionally​ ​recruited​ ​people​ ​into​ ​with​ ​disabilities.     We​ ​have​ ​about​ ​another​ ​hundred​ ​little​ ​more​ ​than​ ​that​ ​that​ ​we’ve​ ​actually​ ​got​ ​committed  over​ ​the​ ​next​ ​year​ ​so​ ​that​ ​we’re​ ​hiring​ ​into​ ​and​ ​we’ve​ ​added​ ​a​ ​couple​ ​of​ ​other​ ​locations  including​ ​some​ ​other​ ​locations​ ​in​ ​Europe​ ​some​ ​other​ ​locations​ ​in​ ​Asia.​ ​We​ ​have​ ​a  program​ ​that​ ​were​ ​work​ ​that​ ​we’re​ ​launching​ ​in​ ​Australia​ ​and​ ​in​ ​China.​ ​So​ ​it’s​ ​it’s​ ​gone  well​ ​beyond​ ​those​ ​original​ ​locations.​ ​But​ ​it​ ​is​ ​typically​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​large​ ​you​ ​know​ ​sort  of​ ​employment​ ​centers​ ​and​ ​I’ll​ ​tell​ ​you​ ​a​ ​little​ ​bit​ ​more​ ​about​ ​that​ ​when​ ​we​ ​get​ ​into​ ​a  little​ ​bit​ ​more​ ​about​ ​the​ ​recruiting​ ​and​ ​why​ ​we​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​focus​ ​there.    Jessica:​ ​​[00:08:58]​ ​​It’s​ ​very​ ​impressive​ ​especially​ ​when​ ​you’re​ ​looking​ ​at​ ​this​ ​from​ ​a  global​ ​scale.​ ​My​ ​question​ ​to​ ​you​ ​is​ ​how​ ​are​ ​you​ ​recruiting​ ​in​ ​these​ ​different​ ​markets​ ​for  people​ ​specifically​ ​with​ ​disabilities.​ ​I’m​ ​assuming​ ​recruiting​ ​in​ ​each​ ​location​ ​is​ ​different.    Pat:​ ​​[00:09:11]​ ​​Yeah,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​very​ ​different.​ ​Typically​ ​our​ ​recruiting​ ​strategy​ ​we​ ​call​ ​an  acquisition​ ​or​ ​acquisition​ ​strategy​ ​focuses​ ​on​ ​three​ ​things.​ ​First​ ​of​ ​all​ ​we​ ​leveraging  we’ve​ ​developed​ ​partnerships​ ​with​ ​non-governmental​ ​organizations​ ​nonprofits  government​ ​groups​ ​other​ ​advocacy​ ​groups​ ​in​ ​these​ ​locations​ ​so​ ​we​ ​typically​ ​use​ ​as​ ​an  example​ ​India​ ​you​ ​know​ ​we​ ​record​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​people​ ​in​ ​India.​ ​Well​ ​what​ ​we​ ​did​ ​was​ ​we  work​ ​with​ ​some​ ​non-profits​ ​in​ ​India​ ​that​ ​had​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​Marketplace​ ​awareness​ ​and​ ​had  access​ ​to​ ​the​ ​talent​ ​pool​ ​and​ ​location.​ ​So​ ​we​ ​use​ ​them​ ​to​ ​source​ ​candidates.​ ​That’s  number​ ​one.

Number​ ​two​ ​we​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​universities​ ​that​ ​are​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​that​ ​the​ ​population​ ​of​ ​people  with​ ​disabilities​ ​in​ ​some​ ​location​ ​are​ ​universities​ ​that​ ​are​ ​really​ ​deeply​ ​focused​ ​on  people​ ​with​ ​disabilities​ ​so​ ​we​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​target​ ​them.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​U.S.​ ​for​ ​example,​ ​we’ve​ ​got​ ​a  short​ ​list​ ​of​ ​universities​ ​in​ ​the​ ​U.S.​ ​that​ ​we’re​ ​working​ ​with​ ​to​ ​specifically​ ​recruit​ ​people  with​ ​disabilities.​ ​The​ ​third​ ​thing​ ​we’ve​ ​done​ ​on​ ​the​ ​talent​ ​side​ ​just​ ​goes​ ​a​ ​little​ ​different  in​ ​maybe​ ​different​ ​from​ ​what​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​companies​ ​are​ ​doing.​ ​We’re​ ​building​ ​our​ ​own  talent​ ​pool​ ​as​ ​well.​ ​What​ ​do​ ​I​ ​mean​ ​by​ ​that.    Pat:​ ​​[00:10:19]​ ​​Well​ ​we​ ​had​ ​a​ ​challenge​ ​in​ ​India​ ​where​ ​we​ ​were​ ​hiring​ ​so​ ​many​ ​people  that​ ​were​ ​having​ ​trouble​ ​finding​ ​enough​ ​candidates​ ​that​ ​had​ ​the​ ​background​ ​we  wanted.​ ​Now​ ​these​ ​were​ ​technical​ ​entry​ ​level​ ​technical​ ​jobs​ ​in​ ​our​ ​technical​ ​service  center.​ ​So​ ​we​ ​were​ ​looking​ ​for​ ​people​ ​with​ ​specific​ ​types​ ​of​ ​capabilities​ ​and  background​ ​and​ ​we​ ​weren’t​ ​finding​ ​enough​ ​of​ ​them.​ ​So​ ​what​ ​we​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​do​ ​was​ ​to  build​ ​our​ ​own​ ​talent​ ​pool.​ ​We​ ​developed​ ​a​ ​program​ ​we​ ​call​ ​it​ ​the​ ​Life​ ​Changer​ ​Talent  Incubation​ ​program.     Essentially​ ​what​ ​we​ ​do​ ​is​ ​we​ ​recruit​ ​people​ ​in​ ​with​ ​disabilities​ ​that​ ​have​ ​character​ ​traits  we’re​ ​looking​ ​for​ ​that​ ​have​ ​the​ ​drive​ ​and​ ​the​ ​commitment​ ​and​ ​the​ ​capabilities​ ​to​ ​do  these​ ​types​ ​of​ ​roles.​ ​And​ ​then​ ​we​ ​put​ ​them​ ​through​ ​an​ ​accelerated​ ​and​ ​aggressive  training​ ​program​ ​and​ ​apprenticeship​ ​program​ ​to​ ​move​ ​them​ ​into​ ​a​ ​job.​ ​We’re​ ​building  our​ ​own​ ​supply​ ​chain​ ​of​ ​talent.​ ​And​ ​depending​ ​on​ ​the​ ​market​ ​we​ ​may​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​one​ ​or  two​ ​of​ ​those​ ​strategies​ ​versus​ ​all​ ​three​ ​but​ ​we​ ​are​ ​employing​ ​all​ ​three​ ​of​ ​those  strategies​ ​globally​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​people​ ​on​ ​board    Jessica:​ ​​[00:11:25]​ ​​I​ ​like​ ​the​ ​idea​ ​of​ ​apprenticeship​ ​program​ ​I​ ​think​ ​that’s​ ​really  creative​ ​and​ ​something​ ​that​ ​I​ ​think​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​our​ ​listeners​ ​maybe​ ​have​ ​heard​ ​about​ ​or  read​ ​about​ ​but​ ​haven’t​ ​really​ ​considered​ ​for​ ​themselves.

Pat:​ ​​[00:11:37]​ ​​It​ ​has​ ​made​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​difference​ ​for​ ​us​ ​because​ ​then​ ​it​ ​is​ ​we​ ​bring​ ​people  that​ ​have​ ​the​ ​right​ ​character​ ​traits​ ​we’re​ ​looking​ ​for​ ​people​ ​that​ ​have​ ​technical​ ​aptitude  but​ ​have​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​other​ ​characteristics​ ​we’re​ ​looking​ ​for.​ ​We​ ​can​ ​give​ ​them​ ​the  back​ ​technical​ ​background​ ​we​ ​can​ ​give​ ​them​ ​the​ ​experience​ ​to​ ​an​ ​apprenticeship.  What​ ​we​ ​can’t​ ​do​ ​is​ ​necessarily​ ​change​ ​their​ ​character​ ​per​ ​se.​ ​Right.​ ​So​ ​we​ ​look​ ​for  people​ ​with​ ​character​ ​traits.​ ​We​ ​provide​ ​them​ ​the​ ​education​ ​the​ ​technical​ ​background  through​ ​our​ ​our​ ​talent​ ​incubation​ ​program​ ​leveraging​ ​the​ ​Cisco​ ​network​ ​Academy curriculum​ ​by​ ​the​ ​way.​ ​And​ ​then​ ​what​ ​we​ ​do​ ​is​ ​use​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​an​ ​apprenticeship​ ​program  to​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​orient​ ​them​ ​in​ ​that​ ​role​ ​to​ ​understand​ ​what’s​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​the​ ​role​ ​and​ ​how​ ​that  how​ ​that​ ​might​ ​work.​ ​So​ ​that’s​ ​really​ ​helped​ ​us​ ​and​ ​now​ ​we’re​ ​actually​ ​using  universities​ ​to​ ​recruit​ ​people​ ​into​ ​these​ ​into​ ​this​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​academy​ ​apprenticeship  program.     So​ ​it’s​ ​been​ ​very​ ​very​ ​effective​ ​for​ ​us.​ ​And​ ​I​ ​know​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​tech​ ​companies​ ​I’ve​ ​talked​ ​to  just​ ​to​ ​have​ ​the​ ​same​ ​challenge​ ​where​ ​do​ ​I​ ​find​ ​enough​ ​talent.​ ​You​ ​know​ ​you’ve​ ​got  employers​ ​that​ ​will​ ​say​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​find​ ​people​ ​that​ ​have​ ​the​ ​skills​ ​any.​ ​And​ ​then​ ​you​ ​have  the​ ​candidates​ ​that​ ​say​ ​nobody​ ​wants​ ​to​ ​hire​ ​me.​ ​And​ ​the​ ​reality​ ​of​ ​it​ ​is​ ​is​ ​there’s​ ​a​ ​big  broad​ ​pool​ ​of​ ​talent​ ​here​ ​that​ ​are​ ​capable​ ​of​ ​doing​ ​these​ ​kinds​ ​of​ ​roles.​ ​That​ ​may​ ​not  have​ ​just​ ​the​ ​exact​ ​right​ ​experience​ ​or​ ​didn’t​ ​go​ ​to​ ​the​ ​right​ ​university​ ​or​ ​didn’t​ ​have  the​ ​right​ ​work​ ​experience.​ ​Well​ ​if​ ​they​ ​got​ ​the​ ​capabilities​ ​and​ ​you​ ​put​ ​them​ ​through  training​ ​in​ ​an​ ​apprenticeship​ ​programs​ ​they​ ​can​ ​grow​ ​into​ ​the​ ​job​ ​and​ ​be​ ​some​ ​of​ ​your  Absolutely​ ​but​ ​employees.

Jessica:​ ​​[00:13:09]​ ​​Can​ ​you​ ​talk​ ​to​ ​me​ ​a​ ​little​ ​bit​ ​about​ ​the​ ​different​ ​tools​ ​and  technologies​ ​you​ ​have​ ​used​ ​as​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​life​ ​changer​ ​program?    Pat:​ ​​[00:13:16]​ ​​Yes​ ​so​ ​we​ ​started​ ​out​ ​using​ ​collaboration​ ​solutions.​ ​As​ ​I​ ​said​ ​you​ ​know  voice​ ​video​ ​a​ ​live​ ​voice​ ​HD​ ​video​ ​collaboration​ ​tools​ ​that​ ​we​ ​use​ ​fundamentally​ ​across  Cisco​ ​and​ ​these​ ​are​ ​things​ ​that​ ​we​ ​we​ ​actually​ ​sell.​ ​And​ ​these​ ​are​ ​things​ ​that​ ​many​ ​of  our​ ​customers​ ​use​ ​from​ ​Cisco.​ ​So​ ​that​ ​was​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​a​ ​cornerstone​ ​but​ ​what​ ​we​ ​added​ ​to  that​ ​was​ ​the​ ​accommodations​ ​technology​ ​necessary​ ​for​ ​the​ ​individual.​ ​And​ ​it​ ​was​ ​all  different.     We​ ​would​ ​take​ ​our​ ​collaboration​ ​platform​ ​we​ ​would​ ​integrate​ ​it​ ​with​ ​the​ ​right​ ​levels​ ​of  accessibility​ ​and​ ​accommodations​ ​to​ ​satisfy​ ​and​ ​support​ ​the​ ​individual​ ​candidate.​ ​And  then​ ​we​ ​provided​ ​you​ ​know​ ​other​ ​tools​ ​to​ ​help​ ​with​ ​the​ ​onboarding​ ​process​ ​whether​ ​it  was​ ​training​ ​programs​ ​like​ ​we​ ​talked​ ​about​ ​earlier​ ​or​ ​it’s​ ​you​ ​know​ ​manager​ ​training  and​ ​tools​ ​and​ ​those​ ​types​ ​of​ ​things.​ ​But​ ​from​ ​a​ ​technology​ ​point​ ​of​ ​view,​ ​it’s  fundamentally​ ​collaboration​ ​solutions​ ​coupled​ ​with​ ​accommodation​ ​accessibility technology.    Jessica:​ ​​[00:14:17]​ ​​I​ ​think​ ​this​ ​is​ ​an​ ​important​ ​conversation​ ​because​ ​it’s​ ​not​ ​just​ ​about  having​ ​a​ ​disability​ ​hiring​ ​program​ ​but​ ​also​ ​being​ ​willing​ ​to​ ​customize​ ​the​ ​accessibility  piece​ ​for​ ​your​ ​employees​ ​to​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​that​ ​they’re​ ​going​ ​to​ ​be​ ​successful​ ​in​ ​their  roles.    Pat:​ ​​[00:14:35]​ ​​Exactly​ ​and​ ​just​ ​go​ ​the​ ​other​ ​thing​ ​I​ ​would​ ​add​ ​and​ ​you​ ​you​ ​sort​ ​of  implied​ ​that​ ​it’s​ ​more​ ​than​ ​technology.​ ​I​ ​mean​ ​you​ ​need​ ​to​ ​accommodate​ ​individuals  but​ ​you​ ​also​ ​need​ ​to​ ​change​ ​your​ ​processes.​ ​We​ ​started​ ​this​ ​as​ ​a​ ​volunteer​ ​project  with​ ​the​ ​idea​ ​we’re​ ​going​ ​to​ ​use​ ​technology​ ​you​ ​know​ ​as​ ​a​ ​as​ ​a​ ​real​ ​enabler​ ​of  innovation.​ ​And​ ​it​ ​was​ ​but​ ​we​ ​learned​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​in​ ​the​ ​process.​ ​We​ ​learned​ ​that​ ​we​ ​had  process​ ​issues​ ​that​ ​we​ ​needed​ ​to​ ​work​ ​through.     We​ ​learned​ ​that​ ​we​ ​had​ ​talent​ ​acquisition​ ​barriers​ ​that​ ​we​ ​didn’t​ ​even​ ​know​ ​about​ ​that  was​ ​limiting​ ​our​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​people​ ​into​ ​the​ ​company.​ ​So​ ​we​ ​addressed​ ​those​ ​as  well.​ ​It’s​ ​not​ ​just​ ​technology​ ​but​ ​it​ ​was​ ​a​ ​combination​ ​of​ ​technology​ ​process​ ​evolution  and​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​internal​ ​innovation​ ​that​ ​ultimately​ ​led​ ​to​ ​our​ ​success​ ​it​ ​wasn’t  technology​ ​and​ ​you’re​ ​right​ ​you​ ​can’t​ ​just​ ​throw​ ​technology​ ​at​ ​the​ ​problem​ ​in​ ​assume  that​ ​you’re​ ​going​ ​to​ ​make​ ​a​ ​profound​ ​impact​ ​or​ ​really​ ​make​ ​big​ ​impact.​ ​You​ ​have​ ​to  address​ ​the​ ​process​ ​issues​ ​as​ ​well.​ ​And​ ​you’ve​ ​got​ ​to​ ​look​ ​at​ ​this​ ​as​ ​a​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​an​ ​entire  supply​ ​chain.​ ​That’s​ ​just​ ​my​ ​view.    Jessica:​ ​​[00:15:36]​ ​​Let’s​ ​take​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​of​ ​a​ ​reset.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​Jessica​ ​Miller-Merrell​ ​and​ ​you​ ​are  listening​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Workology​ ​Podcast​ ​in​ ​partnership​ ​with​ ​PEAT.​ ​Today​ ​we​ ​are​ ​talking  about​ ​the​ ​inclusive​ ​apprentice​ ​program​ ​at​ ​Cisco​ ​with​ ​Pat​ ​Romzek.​ ​You​ ​can​ ​connect  with​ ​Pat​ ​on​ ​Twitter​ ​at​ ​@promek.    Sponsor​ ​Msg:​ ​​[00:15:55]​ ​​The​ ​Workology​ ​podcast​ ​Future​ ​of​ ​Work​ ​series​ ​is​ ​supported  by​ ​PEAT​ ​the​ ​partnership​ ​on​ ​employment​ ​and​ ​accessible​ ​technology.​ ​PEAT’s​ ​initiative  is​ ​to​ ​foster​ ​collaboration​ ​and​ ​action​ ​around​ ​accessible​ ​technology​ ​in​ ​the​ ​workplace.​ ​Is  funded​ ​by​ ​the​ ​U.S.​ ​Department​ ​of​ ​Labor’s​ ​office​ ​of​ ​Disability​ ​Employment​ ​Policy​ ​ODEP

learn​ ​more​ ​about​ ​PEAT​ ​at​ ​peatworks.org.    Jessica:​ ​​[00:16:19]​ ​​All​ ​right​ ​let’s​ ​let’s​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​get​ ​back​ ​to​ ​things​ ​a​ ​little​ ​bit.​ ​You’ve  talked​ ​you’ve​ ​talked​ ​about​ ​your​ ​program​ ​in​ ​depth​ ​and​ ​I​ ​wondered​ ​what​ ​are​ ​the​ ​some  of​ ​the​ ​ways​ ​that​ ​maybe​ ​you’ve​ ​had​ ​to​ ​adjust​ ​your​ ​candidate​ ​interview​ ​and​ ​selection  process​ ​you​ ​talked​ ​about​ ​processes​ ​a​ ​little​ ​bit​ ​but​ ​maybe​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​talk​ ​a​ ​little​ ​bit​ ​more  about​ ​those​ ​process​ ​changes​ ​that​ ​you​ ​might​ ​have​ ​made.​ ​What​ ​we​ ​found  fundamentally​ ​just​ ​got​ ​is​ ​as​ ​we​ ​started​ ​when​ ​we​ ​when​ ​we​ ​first​ ​started​ ​on​ ​this​ ​pilot​ ​we  found​ ​initially​ ​that​ ​we​ ​were​ ​hiring​ ​very​ ​many​ ​people​ ​even​ ​though​ ​we​ ​were​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​end  and​ ​as​ ​we​ ​really​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​did​ ​a​ ​pretty​ ​thorough​ ​evaluation​ ​of​ ​what​ ​was​ ​happening​ ​why  was​ ​this​ ​happening.    Pat:​ ​​[00:17:00]​ ​​Why​ ​were​ ​we​ ​struggling​ ​to​ ​get​ ​more​ ​people​ ​through​ ​the​ ​talent​ ​recruiting  pipeline.​ ​What​ ​we​ ​found​ ​is​ ​that​ ​while​ ​the​ ​pool​ ​of​ ​people​ ​with​ ​disabilities​ ​is​ ​vast​ ​it’s​ ​a  huge​ ​pool​ ​we​ ​are​ ​working​ ​in​ ​a​ ​partnership​ ​with​ ​the​ ​state​ ​of​ ​California.​ ​There​ ​are  hundreds​ ​of​ ​thousands​ ​of​ ​candidates​ ​and​ ​their​ ​talent​ ​pool​ ​that​ ​they​ ​were​ ​providing​ ​to  us​ ​because​ ​they​ ​were​ ​working​ ​with​ ​us​ ​in​ ​partnership.​ ​What​ ​we​ ​found​ ​is​ ​that​ ​often  times​ ​the​ ​candidates​ ​either​ ​wouldn’t​ ​go​ ​to​ ​you​ ​know​ ​the​ ​best​ ​top​ ​school​ ​because​ ​of  their​ ​disability​ ​they​ ​maybe​ ​they​ ​didn’t​ ​finish​ ​in​ ​the​ ​top​ ​of​ ​their​ ​class​ ​in​ ​high​ ​school.     They’re​ ​very​ ​intelligent​ ​capable​ ​but​ ​maybe​ ​didn’t​ ​finish​ ​the​ ​top​ ​of​ ​their​ ​class.​ ​Maybe  they​ ​didn’t​ ​go​ ​to​ ​stand​ ​for​ ​MIT​ ​or​ ​or​ ​Harvard​ ​or​ ​Michigan.​ ​You​ ​know​ ​maybe​ ​they​ ​went  to​ ​a​ ​community​ ​college​ ​maybe​ ​they​ ​went​ ​to​ ​a​ ​different​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​university.​ ​typically​ ​what  we​ ​would​ ​see​ ​is​ ​their​ ​background​ ​might​ ​not​ ​be​ ​an​ ​indicator​ ​of​ ​their​ ​capabilities.​ ​So​ ​you  know​ ​traditional​ ​recruiting​ ​process​ ​where​ ​you​ ​know​ ​we​ ​get​ ​a​ ​hundred​ ​candidates​ ​for  every​ ​rock​ ​open​ ​requisition​ ​at​ ​Cisco​ ​or​ ​more​ ​some​ ​some​ ​jobs​ ​we​ ​have​ ​thousands​ ​of  candidates.

Pat:​ ​​[00:18:02]​ ​​You’re​ ​screening​ ​candidates​ ​based​ ​on​ ​their​ ​resumes.​ ​What​ ​you’d​ ​find  with​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​people​ ​with​ ​disabilities​ ​is​ ​they​ ​don’t​ ​self-declared​ ​and​ ​say,​ ​“Hey,​ ​I​ ​have​ ​a  disability​ ​and​ ​that’s​ ​why​ ​I​ ​didn’t​ ​finish​ ​in​ ​the​ ​top​ ​of​ ​my​ ​class.”​ ​But​ ​on​ ​paper​ ​they​ ​sort​ ​of  look​ ​like​ ​candidates​ ​that​ ​maybe​ ​went​ ​to​ ​a​ ​secondary​ ​school​ ​maybe​ ​weren’t​ ​in​ ​the​ ​top  of​ ​their​ ​class​ ​maybe​ ​didn’t​ ​have​ ​the​ ​exact​ ​right​ ​background​ ​experience.​ ​So​ ​​ ​we​ ​did​ ​we did​ ​a​ ​couple​ ​of​ ​things.​ ​First​ ​of​ ​all,​ ​we​ ​turned​ ​the​ ​process​ ​upside​ ​down.​ ​Instead​ ​of  looking​ ​at​ ​candidates​ ​and​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​fit​ ​them​ ​into​ ​jobs​ ​we​ ​looked​ ​at​ ​jobs​ ​and​ ​then​ ​went  to​ ​look​ ​for​ ​candidates.​ ​So​ ​we​ ​recognized​ ​there​ ​were​ ​certain​ ​types​ ​of​ ​roles​ ​that​ ​were  the​ ​best​ ​opportunity​ ​for​ ​success​ ​for​ ​someone​ ​with​ ​a​ ​disability.     Typically,​ ​theses​ ​roles​ ​early​ ​in​ ​their​ ​career​ ​are​ ​the​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​career​ ​roles​ ​where​ ​they​ ​can  grow​ ​in​ ​the​ ​company​ ​typically​ ​in​ ​a​ ​role​ ​that​ ​doesn’t​ ​require​ ​extensive​ ​travel.​ ​So​ ​it​ ​might  be​ ​a​ ​job​ ​that​ ​is​ ​more​ ​of​ ​a​ ​desk​ ​job​ ​or​ ​a​ ​virtual​ ​job​ ​they​ ​could​ ​do​ ​from​ ​home.​ ​We​ ​were  looking​ ​for​ ​roles​ ​in​ ​specific​ ​organizations​ ​where​ ​it​ ​seemed​ ​like​ ​it​ ​was​ ​a​ ​really​ ​good​ ​fit  with​ ​the​ ​talent​ ​pool.    Pat:​ ​​[00:19:03]​ ​​So​ ​we​ ​did​ ​this​ ​whole​ ​idea​ ​of​ ​I​ ​call​ ​it​ ​supply​ ​driven​ ​by​ ​demand.​ ​So​ ​we  would​ ​start​ ​with​ ​a​ ​job​ ​which​ ​we​ ​defined​ ​as​ ​the​ ​demand​ ​for​ ​the​ ​person​ ​the​ ​talent​ ​and  then​ ​we​ ​would​ ​build​ ​the​ ​supply​ ​to​ ​match​ ​the​ ​demand.​ ​When​ ​we​ ​started​ ​doing​ ​that​ ​we  immediately​ ​started​ ​having​ ​more​ ​success.​ ​And​ ​then​ ​what​ ​followed​ ​from​ ​that​ ​Jessica  was​ ​this​ ​idea​ ​this​ ​apprenticeship​ ​program.​ ​So​ ​as​ ​we​ ​started​ ​having​ ​more​ ​and​ ​more  success​ ​we​ ​started​ ​realizing​ ​that​ ​there​ ​were​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​candidates​ ​that​ ​maybe​ ​just​ ​didn’t  have​ ​the​ ​right​ ​background.     They​ ​didn’t​ ​have​ ​the​ ​right​ ​experience​ ​of​ ​the​ ​work​ ​experience​ ​that​ ​we​ ​could​ ​build​ ​them  up​ ​because​ ​they​ ​were​ ​capable​ ​they​ ​were​ ​highly​ ​capable​ ​we​ ​could​ ​build​ ​them​ ​up​ ​using  these​ ​incubation​ ​programs​ ​as​ ​a​ ​way​ ​to​ ​give​ ​them​ ​the​ ​experience​ ​and​ ​the​ ​background  to​ ​make​ ​them​ ​successful​ ​in​ ​the​ ​job.​ ​So​ ​those​ ​were​ ​a​ ​couple​ ​of​ ​different​ ​ways​ ​that​ ​we  really​ ​altered​ ​our​ ​processes​ ​and​ ​we’re​ ​doing​ ​that​ ​today​ ​and​ ​now​ ​we’re​ ​using​ ​these  strategies​ ​you​ ​know​ ​really​ ​across​ ​the​ ​whole​ ​company.

Jessica:​ ​​[00:20:00]​ ​​I​ ​find​ ​this​ ​fascinating​ ​and​ ​I​ ​think​ ​that​ ​a​ ​much​ ​needed​ ​right​ ​and​ ​that  you​ ​guys​ ​have​ ​recognized​ ​this​ ​and​ ​then​ ​you’ve​ ​made​ ​adjustments​ ​because​ ​you​ ​are  right.​ ​There​ ​are​ ​so​ ​many​ ​individuals​ ​with​ ​disabilities​ ​that​ ​don’t​ ​self​ ​declare.​ ​And​ ​so​ ​we  are​ ​missing​ ​opportunities​ ​to​ ​engage​ ​those​ ​people​ ​because​ ​they​ ​don’t​ ​fit​ ​into​ ​the​ ​sort​ ​of  that​ ​perfect​ ​little​ ​profile​ ​that​ ​we’ve​ ​created​ ​for​ ​those​ ​positions. Pat:​ ​​[00:20:23]​ ​​Exactly​ ​right.​ ​The​ ​other​ ​thing​ ​you​ ​know​ ​maybe​ ​just​ ​to​ ​add​ ​to​ ​that​ ​you  asked​ ​what​ ​how​ ​we​ ​changed​ ​the​ ​process.​ ​The​ ​other​ ​thing​ ​we​ ​do​ ​is​ ​now​ ​we’re​ ​looking  differently.​ ​So​ ​we’re​ ​looking​ ​for​ ​people​ ​with​ ​specific​ ​capabilities​ ​character​ ​traits​ ​that​ ​if  they​ ​don’t​ ​have​ ​the​ ​right​ ​background​ ​they​ ​don’t​ ​have​ ​the​ ​right​ ​degree​ ​from​ ​the​ ​school  or​ ​the​ ​right​ ​work​ ​experience​ ​will​ ​put​ ​them​ ​through​ ​an​ ​incubation​ ​program.​ ​And​ ​when  we​ ​bring​ ​him​ ​in​ ​the​ ​incubation​ ​program​ ​we’re​ ​looking​ ​for​ ​people​ ​with​ ​certain​ ​character  traits​ ​technical​ ​aptitude​ ​Yes​ ​but​ ​frankly​ ​not​ ​as​ ​much​ ​technical​ ​experience​ ​more  technical​ ​aptitude​ ​for​ ​character​ ​traits.​ ​So​ ​we’ll​ ​do​ ​things​ ​like​ ​video​ ​interview​ ​views  versus​ ​just​ ​looking​ ​only​ ​at​ ​a​ ​resume​ ​and​ ​references​ ​and​ ​in​ ​feedback​ ​we​ ​get​ ​from  nonprofits​ ​or​ ​universities​ ​so​ ​it’s​ ​changed​ ​the​ ​way​ ​we​ ​look​ ​at​ ​the​ ​candidate​ ​pool.    Jessica:​ ​​[00:21:06]​ ​​Let’s​ ​talk​ ​a​ ​little​ ​bit​ ​about​ ​how​ ​Cisco​ ​is​ ​measuring​ ​success​ ​with​ ​this  program.​ ​What​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​metrics​ ​or​ ​measurements​ ​or​ ​goals​ ​do​ ​you​ ​have.​ ​Or​ ​does​ ​Cisco  have​ ​that​ ​will​ ​say​ ​look​ ​this​ ​this​ ​life​ ​changer​ ​program​ ​is​ ​successful.

Pat:​ ​​[00:21:23]​ ​​Well​ ​there’s​ ​one​ ​measure​ ​of​ ​success,​ ​impact.​ ​I​ ​mean​ ​you​ ​know​ ​it’s​ ​easy  to​ ​say​ ​I​ ​guess​ ​but​ ​where​ ​you​ ​know​ ​at​ ​the​ ​top​ ​line​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​we’re​ ​looking​ ​at​ ​how​ ​many  people​ ​are​ ​we​ ​hiring.​ ​How​ ​are​ ​we​ ​changing​ ​the​ ​mix​ ​of​ ​our​ ​workforce?But​ ​there’s​ ​a​ ​lot  more​ ​we​ ​look​ ​at​ ​along​ ​the​ ​way.​ ​I’ll​ ​give​ ​you​ ​an​ ​example.​ ​We​ ​measure​ ​everything​ ​at  Cisco​ ​so​ ​many​ ​roles​ ​that​ ​we​ ​have.​ ​You​ ​know​ ​we​ ​have​ ​a​ ​very​ ​clear​ ​view​ ​and​ ​measure  of​ ​a​ ​person’s​ ​contribution.​ ​Everybody​ ​at​ ​Cisco​ ​is​ ​pretty​ ​accountable.​ ​It’s​ ​that’s​ ​the  culture​ ​of​ ​the​ ​company.​ ​So​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​people​ ​that​ ​we’ve​ ​hired​ ​as​ ​an​ ​example.​ ​So​ ​we  did​ ​this​ ​pilot​ ​in​ ​India​ ​where​ ​we​ ​hired​ ​people​ ​into​ ​this​ ​technical​ ​service​ ​you​ ​know​ ​roll  entry​ ​level​ ​roles​ ​that​ ​they​ ​were​ ​working​ ​with​ ​our​ ​customers​ ​as​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​entry​ ​level  technical​ ​service​ ​representatives.     And​ ​I​ ​told​ ​you​ ​earlier​ ​that​ ​some​ ​of​ ​many​ ​of​ ​them​ ​were​ ​visually​ ​impaired.​ ​We​ ​had​ ​a  group​ ​of​ ​34​ ​people​ ​20​ ​of​ ​them​ ​were​ ​visually​ ​impaired.​ ​We​ ​had​ ​so​ ​much​ ​success​ ​that  we​ ​hired​ ​more​ ​and​ ​more​ ​more​ ​of​ ​them.​ ​What​ ​we​ ​were​ ​able​ ​to​ ​do​ ​is​ ​benchmark​ ​their  productivity​ ​and​ ​see​ ​they​ ​were​ ​outperforming​ ​their​ ​non-visually​ ​impaired​ ​peers.​ ​So  while​ ​we​ ​were​ ​happy​ ​we​ ​hired​ ​these​ ​people​ ​were​ ​really​ ​focusing​ ​on​ ​how​ ​are​ ​they  contributing​ ​to​ ​the​ ​success​ ​of​ ​their​ ​team​ ​and​ ​of​ ​the​ ​company​ ​and​ ​what​ ​we​ ​found​ ​was  pretty​ ​amazing​ ​and​ ​we’ve​ ​got​ ​great​ ​benchmark​ ​statistics​ ​now​ ​that​ ​have​ ​helped​ ​us drive​ ​further​ ​acceleration​ ​of​ ​the​ ​program​ ​because​ ​what​ ​we​ ​found​ ​is​ ​the​ ​people​ ​that​ ​we  hired​ ​in​ ​these​ ​roles​ ​were​ ​more​ ​productive​ ​than​ ​their​ ​coworkers​ ​who​ ​didn’t​ ​have​ ​a  disability.    Pat:​ ​​[00:22:55]​ ​​And​ ​in​ ​fact​ ​we​ ​measured​ ​things​ ​like​ ​service​ ​closure​ ​rate​ ​service​ ​request  closure​ ​rate​ ​of​ ​team​ ​productivity​ ​error​ ​rates​ ​things​ ​like​ ​that.​ ​And​ ​what​ ​we​ ​found​ ​is​ ​for  the​ ​people​ ​that​ ​we​ ​hired​ ​under​ ​this​ ​program​ ​that​ ​were​ ​visually​ ​impaired​ ​again​ ​think​ ​of  them​ ​as​ ​an​ ​engineer​ ​on​ ​the​ ​phone​ ​with​ ​a​ ​customer​ ​helping​ ​them​ ​solve​ ​a​ ​technical  problem​ ​and​ ​they​ ​are​ ​visually​ ​impaired​ ​or​ ​blind​ ​or​ ​using​ ​a​ ​screen​ ​reader​ ​to​ ​read​ ​a  computer​ ​screen.     What​ ​we’ve​ ​found​ ​is​ ​that​ ​their​ ​service​ ​request​ ​closure​ ​rate​ ​for​ ​the​ ​group​ ​from​ ​60  percent​ ​to​ ​85​ ​percent.​ ​We​ ​we​ ​were​ ​closing​ ​issues​ ​faster.​ ​We​ ​were​ ​the​ ​productivity  group​ ​went​ ​up​ ​250​ ​percent.​ ​They​ ​were​ ​driving​ ​more​ ​successful​ ​closure​ ​of​ ​technical  issues​ ​and​ ​we​ ​were​ ​getting​ ​higher​ ​customer​ ​satisfaction​ ​at​ ​the​ ​same​ ​time​ ​the​ ​error  rates​ ​went​ ​down.​ ​So​ ​you​ ​know​ ​that’s​ ​how​ ​we​ ​were​ ​measuring​ ​the​ ​success​ ​of​ ​those  individual​ ​people​ ​and​ ​that​ ​success​ ​then​ ​led​ ​us​ ​to​ ​hire​ ​even​ ​more​ ​folks​ ​because​ ​what  happened​ ​was​ ​our​ ​business​ ​leaders​ ​recognized​ ​not​ ​only​ ​is​ ​this​ ​good​ ​for​ ​people​ ​it’s  good​ ​for​ ​society​ ​it’s​ ​great​ ​for​ ​our​ ​workforce​ ​our​ ​culture​ ​but​ ​it’s​ ​good​ ​for​ ​our​ ​business  too.​ ​These​ ​folks​ ​are​ ​adding​ ​incrementally​ ​driving​ ​up​ ​productivity​ ​of​ ​the​ ​team.​ ​So​ ​it  wasn’t​ ​a​ ​case​ ​of​ ​just​ ​a​ ​social​ ​justice​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​a​ ​social​ ​impact​ ​strategy.​ ​It​ ​became​ ​really  fundamental​ ​to​ ​our​ ​business​ ​strategy​ ​and​ ​strategy.

Jessica:​ ​​[00:24:20]​ ​​I​ ​love​ ​that​ ​you​ ​guys​ ​are​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​these​ ​areas​ ​like​ ​the​ ​productivity  and​ ​the​ ​closure​ ​rate​ ​and​ ​the​ ​error​ ​rate​ ​because​ ​those​ ​it’s​ ​not​ ​just​ ​turnover​ ​or​ ​retention  it’s​ ​either​ ​impacts​ ​directly​ ​to​ ​the​ ​business​ ​that​ ​senior​ ​leadership​ ​is​ ​looking​ ​at​ ​and​ ​is  important​ ​to​ ​the​ ​success​ ​of​ ​the​ ​of​ ​your​ ​growing​ ​company.    Pat:​ ​​[00:24:40]​ ​​Many​ ​companies​ ​are​ ​are​ ​really​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​this​ ​topic​ ​but​ ​there​ ​is  struggle​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​move​ ​it​ ​through​ ​the​ ​organization​ ​because​ ​they​ ​really​ ​don’t​ ​have​ ​a  very​ ​strong​ ​business​ ​case.​ ​The​ ​business​ ​case​ ​is​ ​more​ ​of​ ​it’s​ ​the​ ​right​ ​thing​ ​to​ ​do​ ​kind  of​ ​strategy​ ​versus​ ​I​ ​can​ ​I​ ​can​ ​I​ ​can​ ​show​ ​you​ ​that​ ​this​ ​will​ ​have​ ​a​ ​positive​ ​impact​ ​on​ ​the  company​ ​bottom​ ​line.​ ​What​ ​we​ ​have​ ​is​ ​you​ ​know​ ​the​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​demonstrate​ ​that​ ​this has​ ​a​ ​positive​ ​impact​ ​on​ ​the​ ​company​ ​bottom​ ​line.​ ​So​ ​yes,it’s​ ​the​ ​right​ ​thing​ ​to​ ​do.  Yes,​ ​it’s​ ​great​ ​for​ ​people.​ ​Yes,​ ​it’s​ ​great​ ​for​ ​society​ ​and​ ​for​ ​our​ ​customers,​ ​but​ ​it’s​ ​also  great​ ​for​ ​our​ ​business​ ​and​ ​the​ ​combination​ ​of​ ​all​ ​of​ ​those​ ​things​ ​has​ ​really​ ​led​ ​us​ ​to  have​ ​even​ ​greater​ ​success​ ​rate​ ​is​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​a​ ​success​ ​breeds​ ​success​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​model.    Jessica:​ ​​[00:25:32]​ ​​So​ ​you’ve​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​answered​ ​my​ ​next​ ​question​ ​which​ ​is​ ​I​ ​like​ ​the  idea​ ​of​ ​making​ ​the​ ​business​ ​case​ ​because​ ​that​ ​is​ ​a​ ​great​ ​way​ ​to​ ​think​ ​about​ ​how​ ​to  create​ ​a​ ​program​ ​like​ ​this​ ​at​ ​another​ ​organization.​ ​What​ ​advice​ ​do​ ​you​ ​have​ ​for  somebody​ ​who​ ​might​ ​be​ ​just​ ​getting​ ​started​ ​or​ ​is​ ​thinking​ ​about​ ​putting​ ​together​ ​a  pilot​ ​program​ ​like​ ​Cisco.

Pat:​ ​:​ ​​[00:26:40]​ ​​Well,​ ​​ ​I​ ​would​ ​leave​ ​it​ ​with​ ​a​ ​few​ ​things​ ​so​ ​you​ ​know​ ​we’ve​ ​been​ ​quite  introspective​ ​as​ ​I​ ​said​ ​earlier​ ​you​ ​know​ ​we​ ​need​ ​pilots​ ​and​ ​we​ ​scale.​ ​So​ ​we’re​ ​trying​ ​to  learn​ ​continuously​ ​improve​ ​along​ ​the​ ​way​ ​we’ve​ ​learned​ ​quite​ ​a​ ​few​ ​things.​ ​And​ ​I  would​ ​I​ ​would​ ​say​ ​that​ ​it​ ​falls​ ​into​ ​two​ ​categories.​ ​First​ ​is​ ​what​ ​are​ ​the​ ​critical​ ​success  factors​ ​to​ ​have​ ​a​ ​successful​ ​program.​ ​And​ ​then​ ​secondarily​ ​I’ve​ ​also​ ​been​ ​asked​ ​quite  a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​times​ ​where​ ​are​ ​the​ ​barriers.​ ​There’s​ ​barriers.    From​ ​a​ ​critical​ ​success​ ​factors​ ​standpoint,​ ​I​ ​would​ ​tell​ ​you​ ​that​ ​it’s​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​a​ ​building  blocks​ ​approach.​ ​It’s​ ​not​ ​a​ ​one​ ​size​ ​fits​ ​all.​ ​I​ ​talk​ ​to​ ​them​ ​would​ ​be​ ​like​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​a​ ​senior  level​ ​manager​ ​and​ ​a​ ​you​ ​know​ ​what​ ​we’re​ ​going​ ​to​ ​hire​ ​X​ ​number​ ​of​ ​people​ ​and​ ​you  know​ ​go​ ​forth​ ​and​ ​prosper​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​the​ ​strategy.​ ​What​ ​we​ ​learned​ ​was​ ​just​ ​executive  sponsorship​ ​was​ ​important,​ ​but​ ​so​ ​is​ ​operational​ ​support​ ​in​ ​meaning​ ​we​ ​had​ ​executive  sponsors​ ​that​ ​were​ ​saying​ ​yes​ ​we’re​ ​going​ ​to​ ​hire​ ​these​ ​people.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​part​ ​of​ ​Cisco’s  strategy.     We​ ​also​ ​had​ ​to​ ​develop​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​the​ ​working​ ​operational​ ​leadership​ ​to​ ​drive​ ​the​ ​process  change​ ​and​ ​the​ ​awareness​ ​that​ ​the​ ​hiring​ ​manager​ ​level​ ​you​ ​need​ ​both.​ ​It’s​ ​got​ ​to​ ​be  both​ ​top​ ​down​ ​and​ ​bottom​ ​up​ ​is​ ​what​ ​I​ ​would​ ​tell​ ​you​ ​and​ ​there’s​ ​ways​ ​to​ ​do​ ​that  which​ ​I’d​ ​be​ ​happy​ ​to​ ​share​ ​with​ ​folks​ ​if​ ​they’re​ ​interested​ ​or​ ​at​ ​least​ ​what​ ​we​ ​did.  Secondly,​ ​target​ ​of​ ​the​ ​best​ ​opportunities​ ​what​ ​we​ ​found​ ​to​ ​be​ ​successful​ ​is​ ​don’t  focus​ ​across​ ​the​ ​entire​ ​company.

Pat:​ ​​[00:27:40]​ ​​We​ ​have​ ​so​ ​many​ ​thousand​ ​employees​ ​we​ ​have​ ​thousands​ ​of​ ​open  requisitions​ ​any​ ​point​ ​in​ ​time.​ ​How​ ​do​ ​you​ ​drive​ ​change​ ​in​ ​that​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​a​ ​high​ ​value  recruiting​ ​environment?​ ​What​ ​we’ve​ ​found​ ​to​ ​be​ ​successful​ ​start​ ​with​ ​a​ ​few​ ​roles​ ​in  locations​ ​that​ ​we​ ​knew​ ​we​ ​could​ ​be​ ​successful​ ​with.​ ​And​ ​rather​ ​than​ ​starting​ ​with  talent​ ​and​ ​bringing​ ​them​ ​in​ ​and​ ​having​ ​them​ ​apply​ ​for​ ​a​ ​bunch​ ​of​ ​jobs​ ​we​ ​started​ ​with  the​ ​roles​ ​themselves​ ​and​ ​we​ ​built​ ​the​ ​talent​ ​supply​ ​to​ ​match​ ​that​ ​demand.​ ​We​ ​got  commitments​ ​from​ ​our​ ​business​ ​leaders​ ​to​ ​target​ ​people​ ​with​ ​disabilities​ ​for​ ​certain  types​ ​of​ ​roles​ ​that​ ​we​ ​got​ ​the​ ​supply​ ​of​ ​talent​ ​to​ ​match​ ​the​ ​demand.​ ​We​ ​built​ ​a  business​ ​case.​ ​It’s​ ​really​ ​important​ ​have​ ​a​ ​business​ ​case​ ​because​ ​some​ ​folks​ ​in​ ​the  organization​ ​are​ ​really​ ​heard​ ​by​ ​the​ ​social​ ​impact​ ​of​ ​people​ ​impact.​ ​That’s​ ​why​ ​it’s  good​ ​for​ ​society​ ​good​ ​for​ ​human​ ​beings​ ​other​ ​people​ ​are​ ​driven​ ​by​ ​business​ ​impact​ ​or  other​ ​factors​ ​so​ ​having​ ​a​ ​business​ ​case​ ​is​ ​really​ ​important.     It​ ​really​ ​makes​ ​a​ ​big​ ​difference​ ​to​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​roles​ ​in​ ​organizations​ ​and​ ​in​ ​leaders​ ​where  you​ ​can​ ​establish​ ​talent​ ​targets​ ​and​ ​commitments​ ​and​ ​strategies​ ​not​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​just​ ​sort  of​ ​recruit​ ​everybody​ ​and​ ​everywhere.​ ​It’s​ ​really​ ​about​ ​focusing​ ​more​ ​on​ ​where​ ​we​ ​can  be​ ​successful​ ​in​ ​having​ ​the​ ​right​ ​levels​ ​of​ ​sponsorship​ ​in​ ​those​ ​organizations​ ​to​ ​be  successful.​ ​And​ ​then​ ​and​ ​then​ ​externally​ ​building​ ​the​ ​partnerships​ ​with​ ​nonprofits​ ​and  universities​ ​to​ ​build​ ​the​ ​supply​ ​of​ ​talent​ ​and​ ​then​ ​it’s​ ​but​ ​not​ ​least​ ​it’s​ ​it’s​ ​all​ ​about  communications​ ​making​ ​people​ ​aware​ ​of​ ​what​ ​we’re​ ​doing​ ​and​ ​we’re​ ​doing​ ​it​ ​well​ ​why  it’s​ ​good​ ​for​ ​the​ ​company​ ​what​ ​the​ ​business​ ​case​ ​is.     And​ ​then​ ​at​ ​a​ ​more​ ​tactical​ ​level​ ​you​ ​know​ ​even​ ​just​ ​training​ ​and​ ​awareness​ ​for​ ​hiring  managers​ ​so​ ​they​ ​know​ ​how​ ​to​ ​recruit​ ​and​ ​how​ ​to​ ​retain​ ​people​ ​with​ ​disabilities​ ​as​ ​part  of​ ​their​ ​workforce.​ ​So​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​combination​ ​of​ ​things.​ ​And​ ​I’ll​ ​be​ ​happy​ ​to​ ​share​ ​with​ ​you  just​ ​like​ ​I’ve​ ​got​ ​a​ ​slide​ ​deck​ ​that​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​shows​ ​some​ ​of​ ​this​ ​that​ ​I’d​ ​be​ ​happy​ ​to​ ​share  with​ ​you​ ​if​ ​you​ ​want​ ​to​ ​make​ ​it​ ​available​ ​to​ ​the​ ​audience.

Jessica:​ ​​[00:29:37]​ ​​Absolutely.​ ​I​ ​think​ ​what​ ​we’ll​ ​do​ ​is​ ​we’ll​ ​include​ ​your​ ​PowerPoint  presentation​ ​into​ ​the​ ​transcript​ ​over​ ​on​ ​Workology​ ​dot​ ​com​ ​on​ ​the​ ​on​ ​Pat’s​ ​podcast​ ​so  if​ ​you​ ​just​ ​go​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Workology.com​ ​website​ ​and​ ​click​ ​on​ ​podcast.​ ​We’ll​ ​have​ ​Pat’s  information​ ​and​ ​all​ ​his​ ​resources​ ​there​ ​for​ ​you​ ​to​ ​be​ ​able​ ​take​ ​a​ ​look​ ​and​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​get your​ ​thinking​ ​caps​ ​on.​ ​To​ ​plan​ ​your​ ​own​ ​program.    Pat:​ ​​[00:30:03]​ ​​There’s​ ​a​ ​reason​ ​why​ ​the​ ​employment​ ​of​ ​people​ ​with​ ​disabilities​ ​has  been​ ​a​ ​challenge​ ​for​ ​a​ ​long​ ​time​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​money​ ​has​ ​been​ ​spent​ ​really​ ​hasn’t​ ​made  huge​ ​impact.​ ​And​ ​what​ ​we​ ​recognized​ ​was​ ​that​ ​there​ ​were​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​challenges​ ​that  were​ ​impeding​ ​our​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​be​ ​successful.​ ​Certainly,​ ​there’s​ ​misconceptions.​ ​You  know​ ​it’s​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​peeling​ ​an​ ​onion​ ​you​ ​know​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​times​ ​the​ ​first​ ​thing​ ​you​ ​see​ ​is​ ​the  misconception​ ​that​ ​all​ ​that​ ​a​ ​hiring​ ​manager​ ​or​ ​an​ ​executive​ ​might​ ​think​ ​well​ ​these  folks​ ​I’m​ ​not​ ​really​ ​sure.     Can​ ​they​ ​do​ ​the​ ​job​ ​you​ ​know​ ​because​ ​they​ ​know​ ​of​ ​a​ ​neighbor​ ​a​ ​friend​ ​a​ ​nephew​ ​a  niece​ ​that​ ​had​ ​a​ ​severe​ ​disability​ ​or​ ​developmental​ ​disability​ ​and​ ​they’re​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​looking  in​ ​their​ ​mind​ ​I’m​ ​not​ ​really​ ​sure​ ​if​ ​they​ ​can​ ​do​ ​these​ ​kinds​ ​of​ ​roles​ ​so​ ​there’s​ ​these  misconceptions​ ​the​ ​way​ ​you​ ​overcome​ ​those​ ​is​ ​with​ ​education​ ​and​ ​awareness?​ ​You  do​ ​have​ ​issues​ ​and​ ​barriers​ ​associated​ ​with​ ​access.     Meaning​ ​people​ ​can’t​ ​physically​ ​get​ ​to​ ​work.​ ​I​ ​mean​ ​if​ ​you​ ​can’t​ ​get​ ​to​ ​work​ ​everyday​ ​if  you​ ​live​ ​in​ ​you​ ​know​ ​some​ ​of​ ​these​ ​locations​ ​where​ ​transportation​ ​can​ ​be​ ​a​ ​real  challenge.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​U.S.​ ​and​ ​outside​ ​of​ ​the​ ​U.S..​ ​So​ ​you​ ​know​ ​having​ ​a​ ​virtual​ ​or​ ​a​ ​flexible  employment​ ​model​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​people​ ​work​ ​in​ ​a​ ​flexible​ ​work​ ​environment​ ​and​ ​allow​ ​them  work​ ​virtually​ ​allows​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​more​ ​people​ ​to​ ​participate​ ​in​ ​the​ ​workforce​ ​than​ ​otherwise  could.    Pat:​ ​​[00:31:21]​ ​​There’s​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​process​ ​barriers​ ​as​ ​I​ ​as​ ​I​ ​said​ ​earlier​ ​you​ ​know​ ​we  record​ ​that​ ​and​ ​we​ ​did​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​process​ ​redesign​ ​to​ ​recognize​ ​it​ ​and​ ​try​ ​to​ ​enable  accelerated​ ​employment.​ ​There​ ​clearly​ ​is​ ​bias​ ​among​ ​some​ ​people​ ​and​ ​you​ ​may​ ​call​ ​it  misconceptions​ ​that​ ​people​ ​may​ ​call​ ​bias.​ ​The​ ​business​ ​case​ ​is​ ​really​ ​important  because​ ​it​ ​helps​ ​people​ ​understand​ ​this​ ​is​ ​not​ ​we’re​ ​not​ ​just​ ​doing​ ​this​ ​because​ ​only  because​ ​we​ ​feel​ ​like​ ​it’s​ ​good​ ​for​ ​people.     That’s​ ​part​ ​of​ ​it​ ​for​ ​sure​ ​but​ ​it’s​ ​not​ ​the​ ​only​ ​reason​ ​we’re​ ​actually​ ​doing​ ​this​ ​as​ ​well  because​ ​it’s​ ​really​ ​good​ ​for​ ​our​ ​business.​ ​And​ ​then​ ​last​ ​but​ ​not​ ​least​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​barriers  is​ ​as​ ​I​ ​talked​ ​earlier​ ​this​ ​notion​ ​that​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​candidates​ ​are​ ​highly​ ​capable​ ​but don’t​ ​have​ ​the​ ​exact​ ​work​ ​experience​ ​or​ ​education​ ​levels​ ​that​ ​we​ ​would​ ​look​ ​for.​ ​And  as​ ​a​ ​result​ ​what​ ​we​ ​are​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​do​ ​is​ ​to​ ​build​ ​a​ ​supply​ ​chain​ ​of​ ​talent​ ​using​ ​training  and​ ​apprenticeship​ ​programs​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​people​ ​more​ ​capable.​ ​And​ ​give​ ​them​ ​the  employable​ ​skills​ ​to​ ​make​ ​them​ ​successful​ ​at​ ​Cisco​ ​and​ ​beyond.    Jessica:​ ​​[00:32:21]​ ​​Well​ ​Pat​ ​I​ ​thank​ ​you​ ​so​ ​much​ ​for​ ​joining​ ​us​ ​and​ ​I​ ​know​ ​that​ ​we’re  going​ ​to​ ​have​ ​lots​ ​of​ ​questions​ ​and​ ​comments​ ​and​ ​people​ ​are​ ​going​ ​to​ ​know​ ​how​ ​to  connect​ ​with​ ​you.​ ​So​ ​where​ ​can​ ​people​ ​go​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​more​ ​about​ ​you​ ​and​ ​what​ ​Cisco​ ​is  doing​ ​here.

Pat:​ ​​[00:32:35]​ ​​We​ ​we​ ​are​ ​in​ ​the​ ​process​ ​of​ ​posting​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​you​ ​know​ ​some​ ​material​ ​on  our​ ​external​ ​web​ ​site.​ ​A​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​it​ ​is​ ​not​ ​all​ ​there​ ​quite​ ​yet.​ ​It’s​ ​sort​ ​of​ ​in​ ​process​ ​so​ ​you’ll  find​ ​it​ ​in​ ​our​ ​office​ ​of​ ​inclusion​ ​and​ ​collaboration.​ ​You’ll​ ​find​ ​materials​ ​around​ ​life  changer.​ ​It’s​ ​been​ ​sponsored​ ​by​ ​Sherry​ ​Slater.​ ​It’s​ ​a​ ​diversity​ ​officer​ ​and​ ​her​ ​team.​ ​But  if​ ​you​ ​have​ ​questions​ ​you​ ​can​ ​you​ ​can​ ​get​ ​questions​ ​answered​ ​directly​ ​by​ ​sending​ ​an  e-mail​ ​to​ ​a​ ​special​ ​email​ ​alias​ ​we​ ​have​ ​that​ ​we​ ​use​ ​it’s​ ​life​ ​changer​ ​one​ ​word​ ​life  changer​ ​@​ ​Cisco​ ​dot​ ​com.     You​ ​can​ ​contact​ ​me​ ​my​ ​Twitter​ ​address​ ​which​ ​is​ ​@Promzek​ ​or​ ​my​ ​e-mail​ ​address  which​ ​is​ ​P-E​ ​ROZEK​ ​at​ ​yahoo​ ​dot​ ​com​ ​or​ ​PROMZEK​ ​at​ ​Cisco​ ​dot​ ​com​ ​same​ ​email  address.​ ​Cisco​ ​versus​ ​Yahoo’s​ ​so​ ​feel​ ​free​ ​to​ ​reach​ ​out​ ​to​ ​us​ ​if​ ​you’d​ ​like​ ​to​ ​know  more​ ​we’d​ ​be​ ​happy​ ​to​ ​share.​ ​You​ ​know​ ​what​ ​we’re​ ​doing​ ​and​ ​we​ ​don’t​ ​think​ ​I​ ​would  tell​ ​you​ ​just​ ​that.     Well​ ​we’re​ ​really​ ​happy​ ​with​ ​the​ ​success​ ​we’ve​ ​had.​ ​We​ ​don’t​ ​think​ ​we’ve​ ​got  everything​ ​figured​ ​out​ ​here​ ​and​ ​we​ ​learned​ ​as​ ​well​ ​from​ ​other​ ​folks.​ ​So​ ​it’s​ ​always  good​ ​to​ ​collaborate.​ ​We​ ​do​ ​think​ ​there’s​ ​a​ ​significant​ ​opportunity​ ​though​ ​to​ ​enhance  our​ ​brand​ ​our​ ​workforce​ ​and​ ​our​ ​business.​ ​It​ ​does​ ​require​ ​extensive​ ​focus​ ​and  execution​ ​both​ ​top​ ​down​ ​and​ ​bottom​ ​up​ ​focusing​ ​and​ ​doing​ ​it​ ​in​ ​the​ ​right​ ​way​ ​makes​ ​a  big​ ​difference​ ​for​ ​us.​ ​But​ ​we​ ​think​ ​the​ ​opportunities​ ​are​ ​enormous.     And​ ​you​ ​know​ ​Cisco’s​ ​vision.​ ​It​ ​goes​ ​back​ ​to​ ​our​ ​founding​ ​you​ ​know​ ​30​ ​years​ ​ago​ ​was  change​ ​the​ ​way​ ​the​ ​world​ ​lives​ ​plays​ ​and​ ​learns​ ​we​ ​can’t​ ​think​ ​of​ ​a​ ​better​ ​embodiment of​ ​our​ ​vision​ ​in​ ​this​ ​project​ ​and​ ​that’s​ ​what’s​ ​helping​ ​us​ ​really​ ​create​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of  momentum​ ​that​ ​we​ ​get​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​support​ ​internally.​ ​So​ ​I​ ​hope​ ​you​ ​find​ ​it​ ​useful​ ​but​ ​it’s  probably​ ​useful​ ​and​ ​we’d​ ​be​ ​happy​ ​to​ ​share​ ​what​ ​we’re​ ​doing​ ​is​ ​well​ ​learn​ ​from​ ​other  folks​ ​as​ ​well​ ​to​ ​hopefully​ ​make​ ​a​ ​difference​ ​in​ ​the​ ​world​ ​and​ ​transform​ ​the​ ​lives​ ​of  people​ ​with​ ​disabilities​ ​at​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the​ ​day.

Jessica:​ ​​[00:34:29]​ ​​It’s​ ​conversations​ ​like​ ​these​ ​that​ ​provide​ ​insights​ ​into​ ​the​ ​larger  organizational​ ​changes​ ​that​ ​need​ ​to​ ​happen​ ​for​ ​an​ ​organization​ ​to​ ​embrace​ ​an  inclusive​ ​hiring​ ​program.​ ​As​ ​we’ve​ ​seen​ ​from​ ​Pat​ ​and​ ​his​ ​work​ ​at​ ​Cisco​ ​it’s​ ​not​ ​simply  creating​ ​a​ ​new​ ​talent​ ​funnel​ ​and​ ​candidate​ ​specific​ ​marketing​ ​programs.​ ​Companies  have​ ​to​ ​flex​ ​their​ ​entire​ ​interview​ ​selection​ ​onboarding​ ​and​ ​training​ ​program​ ​to​ ​truly  make​ ​an​ ​inclusive​ ​workplace.​ ​Thank​ ​you​ ​for​ ​join​ ​in​ ​the​ ​work​ ​alci​ ​podcast​ ​a​ ​podcast​ ​for  the​ ​disruptive​ ​workplace​ ​leader​ ​who’s​ ​tired​ ​of​ ​the​ ​status​ ​quo.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​Jessica  Miller-Merrell.​ ​Until​ ​next​ ​time​ ​you​ ​can​ ​visit​ ​work​ ​all​ ​day​ ​dot​ ​com​ ​to​ ​listen​ ​to​ ​all​ ​our  previous​ ​podcasts​ ​episodes.     To​ ​find​ ​out​ ​more​ ​about​ ​Project​ ​Life​ ​Changer​ ​at​ ​Cisco​ ​you​ ​can​ ​connect​ ​with​ ​Pat​ ​on  Twitter​ ​(at​ ​@promzek),​ ​on​ ​LinkedIn​ ​(Patrick​ ​Romzek),​ ​on​ ​the​ ​Cisco​ ​Website​ ​for  Inclusion​ ​and​ ​Collaboration​ ​or​ ​by​ ​emailing​ ​a​ ​special​ ​alias​ ​Cisco​ ​setup​ ​at  lifechanger@cisco.com(link sends e-mail)