The Classroom of the Future Foundation (CFF) is excited to announce the launch of its first-ever Career Discovery Cybersecurity Experience today.
As part of the organization’s five-year commitment to expanding career pathway opportunities for students, CFF designed a 4-6 week project-based learning experience to expose a group of middle school students to the world of work, and specifically to the past, present, and future of the cybersecurity industry.
After more than a year of planning, this pilot program will launch later today at the Community Day School in Sweetwater UHSD and at Health Sciences High & Middle College (HSHMC) in San Diego Unified School District.
Nearly a third of students nationwide leave high school without the required skills to succeed in college, to participate in the 21st century workforce or to earn a family-supportive income. Evident of this national dilemma, is the fact that San Diego currently has more than 43,000 young adults who are neither working or in school.
Moreover, San Diego County public school students lack access to tools that can inform them about a full range of careers and their application in the area’s workforce or in the postgraduate education system. Often, their teachers are unfamiliar with relevant subject matter for preparing students for local job sectors, thus lesson plans do not connect students’ classroom education to the real world of work. With an evolving college and career landscape, coupled with an average student-to-school counselor ratio of 800 to 1 in California, students are increasingly overwhelmed and lack the support needed to plan their future.
Employment in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) jobs is expected to grow to more than 9 million by 2022. In order for San Diego County to remain a leader in the STEM innovation economy, it’s absolutely critical that we engage students in the world of work. Moreover, San Diego is home to more than 7,600 cyber jobs, generating $1.9 billion in economic impact for our region. In addition, the cybersecurity industry is expected to grow by 13%. San Diego is positioned to be a global hub for cyber innovation, and the Career Discovery Experience program is a project developed with this need in mind.
The pilot’s 4-6 week online curriculum consists of the following components:
- Classroom lessons and experiences
- Career Exploration though INFORM Journeys
- History of information security through USS Midway Museum
- Virtual interactions (via Nepris) and face to face experiences with cybersecurity workforce partners, Cylance and ESET
In weeks one and two, students will learn about how much money they need to live the lifestyle they want to live, take a survey to identify strengths and interests, and then use the Journeys map to explore different career options, priority industries in San Diego, information about cybersecurity jobs, and the skills needed to succeed in these jobs.
In week three, students will focus on early information security practices, learning about coding, encryption, and the evolution of coding systems.
Week three culminates in an in-person visit to the USS Midway Museum to see these historical information security practices first hand. Students will visit the Battle of the Midway exhibit, SINS room, E-2 aircraft, command and control center, combat information center, and learn about signal flags on the flight deck.
In weeks four and five, students will experience the modern day cybersecurity industry through hands-on digital forensics activities in the classroom with a Cylance cybersecurity professional, virtual interactions with cybersecurity professionals using the Nepris platform, online simulations, and a field trip to ESET to see a cybersecurity workplace firsthand.
After this pilot program is complete, CFF plans to share this online curriculum on its website for free, making it available to any educator who is interested in bringing it to their students.
- Community Day School, Sweetwater UHSD
- Health Sciences High & Middle College
- INFORM Journeys
- USS Midway Museum
We hope that students that go through this program will leave with a greater understanding about careers in the cybersecurity industry, a historical perspective of information security, understanding about the technical and essential skills needed to succeed in the cybersecurity industry, as well as greater motivation to finish high school and pursue a career.
We will be gathering data on each of these metrics over the course of the next 4-6 weeks. It’s our hope that the design and impact of this pilot will allow CFF to replicate this model across other growing industry sectors, bringing greater exposure to the world of work in K-12 classrooms.
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