Howell High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps(AFJRTOC) Cadet Grace Fyke has been selected for the inaugural Air Force Junior ROTC Cyber Academy. Nationwide, only 25 AFJROTC cadets were chosen for the academy. The academy is the capstone experience of the JRTOC CS Demonstration project, which is a public-private partnership aimed at building a scalable model to provide evidence-based computer science and cybersecurity education access to the approximately 545K youth members of the JROTC.
During the cyber academy, the cadets will build skills in state-of-the-art computing and cybersecurity under the supervision of instructors from Mississippi State University and Whatcom Community College’s Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense. The program will be delivered remotely due to COVID-19. Each cadet will be equipped with a cyber workstation, including a laptop computer with a branded bag, gaming headset, and additional tools needed to fully engage in the program through support from Capital One. Cadets will work in small collaborative teams led by MSU students and supported by technical mentors from the Air Force. They will participate in weekly career conversations with high-level industry professionals. Upon completion, each cadet will earn three college credits from Mississippi State University and will have the opportunity to sit for the COMPTIA IT Fundamentals certification exam. The value of the AF JROTC Cyber Academy scholarship is $8,000.
Currently, the Department of Labor predicts cybersecurity jobs will grow at a rate of 32 percent, and the Center for Cyber Safety and Education reports there will be 1.8 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2022, a 20 percent increase over 2015.
“Headquarters AFJROTC is excited about this initiative and for each of our cadets selected. This program embodies the purpose and vision of the AFJROTC mission – developing young citizens.” shared Colonel Stephen T. Sanders, director, HQ AFJROTC. “The cyber skills and technology certifications offered through this program will provide options and opportunity, including up to $10,000 in enlistment bonuses and collegiate scholarships. Whether our cadets have military or civilian careers in mind, we are preparing them for the future.”
“The fact that these cadets are jumping in to be a part of our inaugural Cyber Academy – and doing so virtually – is a testament to the demand for technology career exploration opportunities among students. We are looking forward to learning from their experience this summer and building out a model to bring computing and cybersecurity to JROTC cadets broadly,” said Ruthe Farmer, chief evangelist, CSforALL.
For more information about Cyber Academy and the AFJROTC CS for All Programs, please visit https://www.csforall.org/projects_and_programs/jrotc/.