The same dire warning has been resounding throughout the IT industry for years.

Analysts, experts and CIOs have warned of a massive shortage of qualified IT personnel that could cripple more North American companies than the ominous Y2K threat.

For Cisco Systems Canada Co., meeting the looming problem head-on was the only recourse. On Nov. 10, Cisco Canada launched the Networking Academy Program (NAP) across Quebec – a joint initiative with the Francophone school boards designed to provide French-speaking secondary and post secondary students in La Belle Province the necessary skills to participate in the Internet economy. The NAP has been operating in other regions of the country as early as June 1998.

“We’re committed to giving back to education,” said Anne Miller, Cisco Canada’s Canadian education marketing manager. “We’re committed to the on-going nature of education…ours is a global program that is offered in 52 countries in seven languages.”

Specifically, the program teaches students to build and maintain computer networks while promoting IT as a viable, thriving career option.

The media luncheon held that November day at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal was attended by Cisco Systems Canada general manager Pierre-Paul Allard, Rejean Plamondon, director general for the school, and Roch Dube, president and CEO of Connexim – a limited partnership company of Bell Canada’s and Hydro-Qu

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