SynED, a national non-profit focused on education, today released Agents of Change: Cybersecurity Career Pathways in the Inland Empire, the first in a series of reports that will do in-depth story telling about changemakers who witness the gaps in our education system and do something about it.
“This new report series will zero in on the critical components of successful innovations, providing educators and policymakers useful insights and guidance they can leverage to solve problems in their own communities and education systems,”said Scott Young, President and Executive Director, SynED.
Volume 1 of Agents of Change focuses on the Inland Empire, home to more than 4,000,000 people and lying at the heart of Southern California.
At Moreno Valley School District (MVUSD), students are discovering new opportunities in the field of cybersecurity, where they can envision a bright future with a higher quality of life than their parents or peers, and professionals can earn six-figure salaries.
Considering nearly every school at MVUSD is a Title 1 school, with 86 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches and a higher-than-average number of homeless and foster youth, the doors opened by the cybersecurity CTE pathway are life changing.
The superintendent of MVUSD, Dr. Martinrex Kedziora, has led the district for ten years and has instituted cultural changes that have resulted in graduation rates soaring from the high 60s to the low 90s.
“It’s a combination of resources, like everything we do,” Dr. Kedziora stated. “It takes everyone to be interested and engaged, to provide linkages.”
At the center of this story are teachers, education administrators, college faculty and businesses who focused on a shared long-term goal to create a classroom to cybersecurity career pathway for regional students.
Donna Woods, a teacher at Canyon Springs High School and recipient of the 2020 Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award, helped guide this five year effort along with her team and partners.
“If Inland Empire employers can find local talent with the exact skills and certifications they need, and – equally important – an attachment to the area and a desire to stay local, they jump at the chance, Business leaders agree that well defined goals with responsive follow up make them eager to participate with education.”the report states.
“The Inland Empire region, as a community, have re-written the narrative of the role a career education pathway plays in their community. While success like this does not happen in a single year, with a view of what success looks like and the ‘road signs’ identified to keep activities on track, this success can be realized in any geographic location across the country,”concluded Mr. Young.
“Five years ago, we could have never imagined how far this would go. The response from students, parents, the school board, all these partners, you pinch yourself. It’s hard to believe.”Donna Woods