Cybersecurity training provided to Native Hawaiian students

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Windward Community College and Hawaiian Telcom joined forces to support the growing demand for local cybersecurity professionals with a unique internship program for Native Hawaiian students.

Cybersecurity jobs are among the fastest-growing career areas in the nation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Information Security Analyst’s Outlook predicts cybersecurity jobs will grow 31 percent through 2029, more than seven times faster than the national average job growth of 4 percent.

To help meet this growing demand in Hawaii, the ‘Ao Kahi Internship Program was established at Windward Community College, a Native Hawaiian Career and Technical Education project sponsored by ALU LIKE, Inc. and funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Through a six-week paid internship, eight students of Native Hawaiian ancestry experienced hands-on learning of “red team” (offensive) and “blue team” (defensive) information security tactics and explored aspects of network engineering, information security engineering, systems engineering and data center management, project management and human management.

The students were mentored by Hawaiian Telcom’s Managed Services team.

The internship’s primary goal was to broaden students’ understanding of information security and outline how expansive the work opportunities are, especially for entry-level positions.

“It was important to us that our students come away with well-rounded insights about different aspects of cybersecurity and pathways to success as they think about potential careers,” said Jodie Yim, coordinator for the ‘Ao Kahi program. “Working with Hawaiian Telcom was invaluable for our students because they engaged regularly with local cybersecurity professionals who are committed to passing on their career and industry knowledge.”

“Connecting with students through ‘Ao Kahi gave us the opportunity to be more than a service provider,” said Jordan Silva, senior manager of service delivery for Hawaiian Telcom. “It gave us the chance to leverage our expertise and passion for our careers in service to our local community.

“A career in cybersecurity can be highly satisfying as it’s fast-paced and constantly evolving, and there are many routes you can take,” Silva added. “As an employer, we see the growing need for qualified professionals and have a vested interest in helping to develop them right here in Hawaii.”

“The internship with Hawaiian Telcom was an amazing opportunity,” said Kainoa Jimenez, who completed his internship in June. “I’m in the process of earning my global Security+ certification and the internship showed me exactly what to pay attention to when I’m ready to pursue a cybersecurity position.”

In addition to the ‘Ao Kahi internship program, Hawaiian Telcom’s Managed Services team supports local cybersecurity education by volunteering to work with students through CyberPatriot, the National Youth Cyber Education Program offered by the Hawaii chapter of the Air Force Association, and hosting free, educational Hawaiian Telcom University events with topics ranging from technology trends to solutions for complex business issues.

The next ‘Ao Kahi Internship cybersecurity cohort starts in January for spring 2022. Applications will be available in November. For questions about the ‘Ao Kahi Internship Program, contact Jodie Yim at wccCyber@hawaii.edu.

About Windward Community College

Windward Community College offers innovative programs in the arts and sciences and opportunities to gain knowledge and understanding of Hawai‘i and its unique heritage. With a special commitment to support the access and educational needs of Native Hawaiians, we provide the Ko‘olau region of O‘ahu and beyond with liberal arts, career and lifelong learning in a supportive and challenging environment — inspiring students to excellence.

About Hawaiian Telcom

Hawaiian Telcom, established and headquartered in Honolulu since 1883, offers a full range of services to business and residential customers including Internet, video, voice, wireless, data network solutions and security, colocation, and managed and cloud services – all supported by the reach and reliability of its next generation fiber network and 24/7 state-of-the-art network operations center. For more information, visit hawaiiantel.com.

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