Cybersecurity courses will be offered to Arkansas high school students for the first time in 2020.
The classes, which are set to start in the fall season of 2020, will prepare students who want to study cybersecurity at university or pursue an industry-level certification after leaving school.
The curriculum will be designed and based on models created by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s CyberGym (UALR). Advanced classes will also be designed using models created by the University of Central Arkansas’ (UCA) cyber range.
Courses will be offered on high school campuses and through the state’s virtual school, Virtual Arkansas. In partnership with public schools throughout the state,Virtual Arkansas will provide students with access and opportunities to those who may not necessarily be able to access opportunities through local resources.
Currently, three courses for high school students are being developed and are expected to be finished by May 30, 2020. Teacher training will begin over the summer.
In regards to funding, a grant of $94,500 was provided by the Arkansas Department of Education. The initiative was further supported by two sub grants totaling to $50,000 from Arch Ford Education Service cooperative to UALR.
According to Albert Baker, chairman of UALR’s computer science department, cybersecurity is a high-paying career field with an average salary ranging from $90,000 to $125,000. In Arkansas alone 5,000 jobs exist, however over 1,0000 are unfilled.
“This is going to be a great thing for the students of Arkansas,” said John Ashworth, Virtual Arkansas director.
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