A programme in Tulsa, Oklahoma aims to increase talent and diversity in cybersecurity and data analytics with a new Cyber Skills Center, which provides free training, paid apprenticeships and other support.
The initiative was launched by Tulsa Community College and economic development organisation Tulsa Innovation Labs, in partnership with global online learning platform edX, and Skillstorm, which hires, trains and deploys developers.
The programme offers a 24-week online accelerated training boot camp, along with a paid apprenticeship upon graduation.
The Center will be based at Tulsa Community College
“Tulsa Community College has extensive experience and history of evolving with constant workforce changes and developing individuals with the needed skills for in-demand careers,” said Dr. Leigh Goodson, Tulsa Community College president & CEO. “Boot camp graduates will not only be able to pursue new career opportunities after programme completion, but can also apply credits earned from the boot camp to education opportunities to support additional reskilling and upskilling.”
The training can be used as college credit towards a two-year associate degree through Tulsa Community College, or a bachelor’s degree at the University of Tulsa School of Cyber Studies or Oklahoma State University Spears School of Business.
The initial programme is estimated to support more than 200 Tulsans over the next three years.
Up to US$4,000 per student has been budgeted for wraparound services such as childcare vouchers, transportation costs, a laptop and internet connection, and job readiness coaching, supported by the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
Conor Godrey, Cyber & Analytics Portfolio Manager for Tulsa Innovation Labs, told capitaltribunenews.com: “The Cyber Skills Center was designed to serve as a new vehicle for economic mobility in our city. To truly accomplish this goal, we worked to ensure that any otherwise qualified Tulsan could participate, regardless of their specific life circumstances.
“That’s why we developed a curriculum that’s as asynchronous as possible, keeping in mind that most of our students will have other jobs, and established a suite of bespoke social services to remove any specific barrier a student may face in their career transition. Without providing these services, Tulsa would be leaving a huge swath of talent out of its economic future, to its own detriment.”
The Cyber Skills Center is working with nearly 30 non-profits and community partners to provide feedback on programme design and recruit students.
In March, Tulsa Innovation Labs launched an Economy Forward Framework to help cities measure the growth of their knowledge sector and track inclusion metrics.
The Cyber Skills Center will launch its first class in autumn this year and applications are now open.
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