Preparing tomorrow’s workforce

 

The Maryland Chamber Foundation supports sustainable solutions that drive Maryland’s future economy including: talent, education, innovation, economic diversity, infrastructure, business climate, governance and quality of life.

 

By Chloe Mazzone

By 2021, there will be an estimated 3.5 million unfulfilled cybersecurity jobs in the United States. In Maryland alone, there are currently over 15,000 open cybersecurity jobs—that number growing by the day. With over 12,000 IT and cybersecurity organizations in the state, including those that work with the National Security Agency, and an increasing amount of cyber threats, the need for talent is paramount.

There are countless workforce development and career readiness programs in Maryland. But which ones are equipping our youth with the skills needed to enter the workforce?

Career Technology Education (CTE) programs are one solution. Offered in high schools around the state to help students get the jumpstart they need for their careers, CTE programs offer students the opportunity to earn college credits, or industry credentials in a career field of interest.

Career clusters within CTE allow students to identify with broad industry areas in Maryland, like manufacturing, agriculture, and finance. Of the 10 career clusters, the information technology cluster houses the IT Networking Academy (Cisco) program, with two pathways geared toward cyber—cybersecurity and cyber security operations.

THE NEED FOR CYBER

While CTE has been in place for decades, the cyber related pathways are newer to Maryland. Harford Tech High School CTE teacher, Joseph Fetters has graduated two cohorts that have completed the entire cybersecurity pathway.

“It’s an enormous need right now in the community and in our nation. We’ve certainly seen huge statistical numbers about the jobs that are currently unfilled within the cybersecurity industry and those jobs are just increasing due to the type of attacks that we see and the need to secure our digital infrastructure,” said Fetters.

Whether it’s a lone computer tech acting as a system’s administrator or a security administrator monitoring large networks to prevent attacks from occurring, cybersecurity skillsets are in great demand by all industries in Harford County.

Fetters said, “Harford County is the heart of DoD territory with many businesses and industries that work with Aberdeen Proving Ground.”

CURRICULUM BREAKDOWN

Depending on the school district, CTE programs may look different. Some counties have a two-year program and others have a four-year program, still other schools send their students to an outside CTE center.

At Harford Tech High School, the curriculum is within school and spans the entirety of four years:

9th grade 

10th grade

11th grade

12th grade

WORK EXPERIENCE

The classroom instruction is coupled with a work experience program to round out the curriculum. Students are paired with industry partners to gain hands on experience. Students from Harford Tech High School have worked as network engineers, network security engineers and in basic system administration.

Fetters said, “We are always looking for local business partners to take on students to help enhance their education.”

The rigorous classroom work combined with the work experience program ensure that graduates are ready to take on cybersecurity issues of the 21st Century—ensuring that Maryland is ready for the jobs of the future.

For more information on CTE programs in Maryland, head to the Maryland State Department of Education Website page. To learn more about the Cisco Academy and Cisco certifications go to www.netacad.com.


Learn about how to keep your business cyber secure through the third part in our cyber-series: The Cloud as a Security Solution. This educational event is free!

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