Oklahoma CareerTech has been named a CyberPatriot Center of Excellence by the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot program.
CyberPatriot is the AFA’s National Youth Cyber Education Program. It was created to inspire K-12 students to enter careers in cybersecurity and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines critical to the future of the United States. The CyberPatriot program includes the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition for high school and middle school students, AFA CyberCamps and the Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative and Literature Series.
Since the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education took leadership of the Oklahoma CyberPatriot program, participation has more than doubled, said Kristi Akehurst, program specialist and information technology cluster team leader in CareerTech’s business, marketing and information technology division.
“Oklahoma CareerTech is proud to be recognized as a CyberPatriot Center of Excellence,” said Lee Denney, ODCTE interim state director. “CareerTech is dedicated to advancing CyberPatriot’s mission to promote more interest in cybersecurity careers or other science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines critical to U.S. security.”
In a letter of support, AFA Gerrity 215 Chapter President Jeff James wrote that the program in Oklahoma has grown from 30-50 teams to more than 100 teams since it moved to CareerTech.
Through CareerTech’s participation, James has been able to speak to teachers from across Oklahoma to grow the Elementary School Education Initiative, and CyberPatriot representatives attend CareerTech local, regional, state and national conferences to share information through vendor booths.
CareerTech has also hosted many CyberCamp programs on technology center campuses throughout the state.
CyberPatriot instructors host train-the-trainer programs each summer for potential coaches and mentors, Akehurst said; students, coaches and mentors receive training each fall at CareerTech locations around the state. Students compete locally and at state contests, and instructors and trainers are supported through recognition dinners and stipends hosted by ODCTE and AFA, she said.
“We value our instructors and students who are involved in the Oklahoma CyberPatriot program,” she added.
Oklahoma CareerTech manages the curriculum and shares it through a learning management system provided to all of the instructors in the state.