FREDERICKSBURG, Virginia – The 10 students in Stephen Tate’s Basic Cybersecurity Course are unintentional multitasking.

As well as preparing to pass the Computing Technology Industry Association Security + exam – an exam typically given to those who have worked in the cybersecurity industry for at least two years – they earn college credits and lead the way. by participating in the first double registration. cybersecurity program in the state.

The program, which is offered at Spotsylvania Career and Technical Center and will soon be offered in public schools in Fredericksburg City and Stafford County, is funded by a grant from GO Virginia, the state coalition to promote economic growth and opportunities in high demand industries.

“There is currently a huge labor shortage and cybersecurity jobs are in high demand. So this is certainly a great victory for our region, ”said Jennifer Morgan, economic development coordinator for the George Washington Regional Commission, which administers GO Virginia initiatives in the Fredericksburg area.

“The goal is to involve high school students in order to get them and hopefully see a solid path to creating better paying jobs in the region,” she continued.

Germanna Community College applied to GO Virginia for the grant, which amounts to $ 634,938 over three years.

Amy Henecke, dean of vocational and technical studies and workforce development for Germanna, said cybersecurity jobs are “very difficult to fill.”

“So it’s important to start this pipeline earlier,” she said. “With the dual enrollment program, students can start earning degrees and claim college credits. “

Tate is teaming up with teacher Germanna to teach this year’s first dual-enrollment class. Students come to Spotsylvania Career and Tech Center from their home high school every other day for half a day, and they earn credits that will transfer to Germanna or any other community college in Virginia.

They can also request to be transferred to a four-year college.

“Even with that one class they have, they could graduate (high school) and enter the workforce if that’s what they decided to do,” Henecke said.

Tate, who has been teaching computer systems courses for 13 years, said about 25% of its graduates enter the workforce directly, ranging from Geek Squad tech support jobs to local cybersecurity companies that spend contracts with the Ministry of Defense.

Another quarter of his graduates go into the military, where he says they almost always take a tech or cyber-related MOS, while 25 percent go to two or four-year colleges.

The remaining quarter might take a while to bloom, he said, but often ends up joining the cyber workforce.

Senior Marie Kriewaldt is one of two students in the dual enrollment course this year.

She said she first took a cybersecurity course in second year because she had room in her schedule and it “looked interesting”, and continued on. good way thanks to the encouragement of his father.

“It’s a challenge for me, but I love the challenge,” Kriewaldt said.

She said she thinks girls continue to be afraid of computer and cybersecurity classes due to the majority of male enrollments, and she thinks career options in these fields need to be presented to girls at one point. much younger age.

With “literally hundreds of jobs,” said Henecke, there are plenty of vacancies.

Henecke said Germanna is training more instructors in schools in Spotsylvania County, as well as in Stafford and Fredericksburg City.

The goal of the GO Virginia grant is to certify 20 teachers to deliver cybersecurity courses across the region, including Caroline and King George counties.


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