Cyber academy at magnet school offers opportunities for Augusta students
The Augusta Chronicle. Sarah LeBlanc. August 30, 2018.

Cyber is coming to Augusta, and students from the Richmond County School System and elsewhere are positioned to benefit.

Local officials attended the dedication of the system’s Cybersecurity Academy of Excellence at Richmond County Technical Career Magnet School on Thursday. In partnership with Augusta Technical College, the academy will allow students the option for dual enrollment and a two-year associate degree in cybersecurity when they graduate.

“We are teaching and training the next line of digital defense for us personally, corporately and nationally,” said Jason Stark, Cybersecurity Academy Program Specialist. “For the student this mission means that they are securing their future and that means that we are not only teaching technological skills but we are instilling in them business managerial skills and constantly providing them with opportunities to obtain professional certification.”

Stark said over 260 students from eight high schools across the county are enrolled for courses at the cyber academy. Those students will be bused in to the academy in the morning or afternoon, depending on their school.

“The end product is graduating with an associate degree and getting professional certification,” Stark said. “It’s job security, so it’s a great career path to get them started without ever having to take the four-year college you can go right into the industry so I think that’s the motivation.”

Students who complete the program will have the opportunity to take a test for a CompTIA certification, which typically costs hundreds of dollars, at no charge. Those who pass that test will be able to qualify for jobs in fields such as network administration and IT support, Stark said.

“The certification represents a knowledge base that tells the employer that this is somebody we can put right to work because they know what they’re doing,” Stark said.

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