South Fayette School District News Article

SFHS to Launch Immersive Cybersecurity Pathway

Thanks to a new educational pathway coming to South Fayette, students could soon graduate with the skills and certifications needed to land an in-demand, high-paying cybersecurity job right out of high school or continue training in higher education.

South Fayette was one of only eleven districts nationwide selected to launch a high school cybersecurity program through Digital Promise. South Fayette is a proud member of Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools.

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs will reach 3.5 million over the next two years. The group said, “The U.S. job market reflects a global supply-and-demand problem around recruiting candidates with cybersecurity certifications.”

South Fayette’s cybersecurity pathway will develop the next generation of qualified cybersecurity talent. While South Fayette High School has previously offered a one-semester cybersecurity course, this new program will be a two- to three-year pathway where students will have the opportunity to earn industry credentials and gain valuable networking experience through internships.

Dr. Matthew Callison, the district’s director of innovation and strategic partnerships, is leading the efforts in the face of the country’s growing labor need. Dr. Callison, along with Dr. Chuck Herring, director of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, built a group of industry professionals, many of whom are South Fayette Township residents, to serve on core and advisory teams. Their vast experience across a number of business sectors makes South Fayette’s program both relevant and robust. These industry professionals joined the District on Friday, January 20 for an initial planning meeting with Digital Promise and on February 1 for one of several kickoff events with prospective eighth- and ninth-grade students.

While the expanded cybersecurity courses will be available to all high school students next year, incoming ninth- and tenth-grade students would be the first to have the opportunity to complete the entire program before graduation.

In the first-year cybersecurity course (Cyber 1), students would gain foundational knowledge and skills through hands-on learning, tackle in-class challenges, and hear from industry partners. The second-year course (Cyber 2) aligns with the CompTIA Security+ certification, and successful students could be certified by its completion. Learners will be paired with individual cyber mentors, experience real-world opportunities, and compete in a national cybersecurity competition. The third-year course (Cyber 3), while still being developed, would expand certification and competition access and help students build their resume and skillset through internships.

Amid increasing reports of cyber attacks targeting American businesses, the South Fayette Cybersecurity Pathway will train the next generation of cyber crime-fighters through industry-supported curriculum and experiences.

High school families interested in discovering more about this exciting future-focused learning opportunity may email Dr. Callison at [email protected] or speak with their child’s counselor. To watch a video from our cybersecurity information night, click here.

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