Like the almond and pistachio trees in California’s Central Region, careful crop tending and patience were the keys to success in building dual enrollment in ICT courses.
Dennis Mohle, ICT-DM Deputy Sector Navigator in the Central Region, said CyberPatriot was the catalyst that sparked the increase in enrollment.
“Three years ago, we had three CyberPatriot teams in the region, today we have more than 50,” Mohle said. “The high school students in CyberPatriot are natural ICT dual enrollment candidates. If you have enthusiastic coaches (high school teachers) and supportive community college administrators, then you have the proper climate for technical articulation programs such as dual enrollment.”
Fresno City College turned CyberPatriot teams into full-time students using the dual enrollment program. Timothy Woods, the college’s Dean of Business, created a conceptual pathway from high school to technical employment using CyberPatriot, CompTIA A+ certification, and college credit.
“With help from the Career Ladders Project and the Strong Workforce Program Metrics, college faculty and high school teachers were immediately engaged,” Woods said. “One high school CyberPatriot coach is now a qualified community college adjunct instructor teaching Fresno City’s A+ curriculum to his CyberPatriot high school students.”
Woods said CyberPatriot students could complete the CompTIA A+ certification after earning college credit and be prepared to transition into an IT support position after graduating.
“We serve a lot of first-generation college students, and when underserved high school students gain confidence by learning how to fix a computer, and then get a part-time job doing something technical that they’re good at, well, that’s life-changing stuff,” Woods said.
Modesto Junior College has also seen success from CyberPatriot. More than 40 students attended the college’s cybersecurity summer camp, and the school is already making plans to scale up for next year. Four high schools in the region have already formed new CyberPatriot teams since the school year began.
“We are now working on a process to support schools that have decided to continue with the CyberPatriot program by creating competition teams at their schools,” said Brent Wedge, Cybersecurity Lead Faculty at Modesto Junior College. “The teachers, students, district IT and district administration of the Modesto City Schools District have all been very supportive. We are learning together and have a lot to organize but everyone is eager and seem to be up to the challenge.”
Like Woods, Wedge sees CyberPatriot as a gateway to college for students who might not have otherwise considered higher education.
“Over the years I’ve had a few high school students take some of my [college] classes and if properly prepared they can do very well and will be much further ahead of their peers in the long run,” Wedge said.
Mohle said he’s proud of the work that’s been done so far and expects more good things to come for cybersecurity in the Central Region.
“It took a while, but we are finally reaping the benefits of CyberPatriot. College classes, CompTIA certification, self-confidence – these are the seeds of success that our technology-oriented, yet underserved, students needed. Talk about moving the needle … you’ll see impressive things from the Central Region this year,” Mohle said.