Advancing Strategies in Cybersecurity Education and Career Development
Keeping computers and information systems secure is a critical need and a major challenge. Thus, business, industry, and government need well-prepared technicians who can prevent, detect, and investigate cybersecurity breaches. The growth of cyber-threats has created a need for many more workers who have the knowledge and skills to protect digital infrastructure. This project will provide opportunities to broaden participation in the cybersecurity workforce by educating technicians to meet the evolving needs of the cybersecurity field and by strengthening the pipeline from high school to college to employer. This project will build on the results of Miami Dade College's prior NSF-funded project (DUE-1800958), which focused on building the capacity of college faculty in cybersecurity, developing a College Credit Certificate and a two-year Associate of Science degree in cybersecurity, and creating a pathway to these credentials for first-time-in-college and nontraditional students.
The new project will focus on strengthening the relationship with high schools to improve the pipeline of students to the college's cybersecurity programs and supporting the retention, graduation, and job placement of students in the Associate of Science in Cybersecurity program. The project's objectives are to strengthen the pipeline from high school to college-level cybersecurity degree programs and to increase students' employability by aligning their learning with employer-informed technical and soft-skill competencies embedded in structured, applied learning experiences. Activities will include implementing an applied cybersecurity curriculum across partner high schools in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, providing professional development for high school teachers, offering dual-enrollment courses for partner high schools, hosting cybersecurity summer camps for high school students, collaborating with business/industry partners to place students in internships and jobs, developing a competency checklist and a sample internship plan to guide employers and students, and providing academic success coaching to help students complete the Associate of Science in Cybersecurity program. The project evaluation will specifically examine strategies for recruiting high school students into cybersecurity, especially students from groups that are not yet equitably represented in STEM careers. Evaluation will also include measures of high school teachers' preparation for teaching cybersecurity and the preparedness of the students who move into cybersecurity positions at local companies.