Sacramento County Office of Education and Inland Empire/Desert Regional Consortium - Strong Workforce Program Host the 5th Annual Regional California Mayors Cyber Cup.
Thousand Oaks, CA – On Saturday, April 22nd, the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) using K12 Strong Workforce funds and the Inland Empire/Desert Regional Consortium – Strong Workforce Program (IED) sponsored a joint Cybersecurity/IT competition. Students gathered in person as teams and competed virtually with the other teams in geographically dispersed regions.
Seventy (70) teams consisting of 450 students from participating middle schools, high schools, and community colleges competed in the event. Students worked together in teams to solve various challenges related to Cybersecurity and Information Technology. This was the first year that SCOE and IED held a joint competition.
Ms. Kat Goyette, Computer Science Coordinator, California Department of Education, Office of the Deputy Superintendent, Information Technology Branch said, “This event gave the students a taste of what they might find as an exciting career in their future. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) pathways provide a strong educational base for the students to traverse, and the coaches of these teams have provided a solid base for the students on which to grow.”
In Northern California, seven (7) new schools have started cybersecurity programs as a direct result of participating in this year’s event. The Inland Empire/Desert Region saw the addition of six (6) new programs. Growth in both regions involved nearly 200 students that had no previous experience. “While we want the students to have a good time and learn from these events,” said Jared Amalong, SCOE’s Director of STEM Programs, “our true measure of success is the growth of these programs in schools where students may not have had the opportunity to previously pursue this career path. We are very pleased with the growth seen this year.” In addition to the growth of programs the student exit surveys show a high awareness and interest in the community colleges as a next step after high school to pursue a career in cybersecurity or IT.
While the competition has traditionally focused on middle and high school students, the Greater Sacramento, Far North, and the IED regions made a concerted push to include community college students. In the IED region their efforts were rewarded with 40 students from 3 of the regional colleges participating. Inland Empire/Desert Regional Strong Workforce Consortium’s Avi Nair said, “We are thrilled with the growth seen as a result of this year’s event, particularly with the increase in participation from the community colleges in our region. This shows that our efforts to expand ICT programs are making a difference, and we are excited to continue working with our partners to provide more opportunities for students.”
Both programs featured virtual “LIVE@5” video podcasts. These casts occurred in several installations running up to the event and included pre-competition training sessions, speakers from academia, business, the cybersecurity industry, the community, and state and local government. All were recorded and made available to faculty, coaches, and students for continued use.
“Working with SynED has been a great experience,” said Amalong, “They took care of the logistics, content, and execution of the program as they have in years past, but this year they also led our Community of Practice efforts, which is why we saw the success in new program growth. It made my life easier as I didn’t have to worry about the details, and I met my goals for program growth. We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with SynED and expanding these programs even further.”
The success of this year’s joint Cybersecurity/IT competition has paved the way for future growth, expansion of ICT programs, and increased interest in pursuing careers in cybersecurity or IT, providing students with opportunities to thrive in the ever-evolving technology landscape.
About the Inland Empire/Desert Strong Consortium
The Inland Empire/Desert Regional Consortium (IEDRC) serves as a regional framework to communicate, coordinate, collaborate, promote, and plan career and technical education and workforce and economic development in the Inland Empire/Desert Region. The IEDRC partners are committed to working together to provide the region with workforce development programs that address real needs and contribute to economic prosperity. Visit the Inland Empire/Desert Competition Site
About the Sacramento County Office of Education
The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) provides technical assistance, curriculum and instructional support, staff development, legal and financial advice, and oversight to Sacramento County school districts. SCOE plays a leadership role in the delivery of quality education to the students in Sacramento County. SCOE directly educates more than 30,000 children and adults and provides support services to more than 249,000 students in 13 school districts. Visit the NorCal Cyber Competition Site