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Cisco Program Lets Triangle Workers Help Charities

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RALEIGH — Layoffs among high-tech companies are turning out well for some non-profit agencies. Instead of cutting ties with laid-off employees,

Cisco Systems

offered a deal which would put them to work for a charitable organization.

Chuck Clark used to be a systems engineering manager working with federal customers in the southeast U.S. with Cisco Systems. Now, he is working for North Carolina's

Rural Internet Access Authority


The non-profit group is working to bring affordable, high-speed internet access to every corner of the state. Cisco is paying Clark a third of his old salary, and maintaining his benefits, in order to help RIAA for one year.

Why do it?

"The opportunity to stay involved with Cisco as an employee, the opportunity to give back to the community," Clark said.

Seven other Cisco employees whose jobs were eliminated are part of the Community Fellowship Program in the Triangle area, including two now working for the Food Bank of North Carolina.

All are lending their expert knowledge of the Internet to fulfill the charities' mission.

"These agencies can't necessarily afford to go out and hire technical talent that we're now supplying to them full-time for a year," says Cisco Systems spokesman Joe Freddoso.

"It also gives me a reasonable interim step from the layoff to hopefully going back to work full time at Cisco," Clark said.

Cisco Systems promises to search for internal positions for Community Fellowship Program participants when the year ends. Company-wide, 80 Cisco employees whose jobs were eliminated are participating in the program.


Rick Armstrong, Reporter
Rick Armstrong, Photographer
Julian King, Web Editor

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