With critical labor shortages in cybersecurity and IT more broadly, educators and industry need to work more closely together to make sure students are equipped to hit the ground running and fill critical vacancies. A group convened by Paula Hodge, ICT-DM Regional Director in the South Central Coast Region, aims to do just that by focusing on regional certificates and closing skills gaps in cybersecurity.
The group met for the first time on April 16. It included industry representatives, community college faculty and administrators, along with K-12 representatives. The group’s next step is to create regional sub-groups to focus on specific curriculum modules and certificates that are most in-demand based on industry feedback.
“I am hopeful to have this as an accepted annual design process regionally to aid in curriculum and pathways development,” Hodge said. “This process is for all Career Technical Education disciplines as they depend on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) awareness and education.”
Industry representatives at the kickoff meeting provided valuable insight about what those first areas of focus should be, as well as the importance of educators collaborating with business partners on developing curricula and credentials.
“Businesses need skilled workers, both entry-level and experienced,” said Stan Stahl, Founder of SecureTheVillage. “This means it’s in the interest of the business to work with community colleges to connect the business’ needs for skills with the colleges’ training programs.”
Tom Lorenzo, Community Outreach Trainer, Pasadena Fire Department Community Emergency Response Team, added, “I have been on advisory boards at several colleges and academia needs to hear what we have to say.”
High school and college educators who took part in the meeting heard the industry feedback loud and clear and are eager to put it into practice through the initiatives that the group identified.
“We need to adopt and encourage mechanisms that allow proactive and enterprising curriculum updates, design and execution philosophies and feedback loops that ensure we are meeting established goals from employer’s perspectives as well as academic,” said Justin Hunt, Computer Operations Analyst and Network Technologies Instructor at College of the Canyons. “Additionally, our goals need to be fluid and equally dynamic to contend with shifting technologies and, by extension, employer needs.”
For more information about this working group, contact Hodge at firstname.lastname@example.org.