High school juniors and seniors in 23 Appalachian Coalfields counties in Kentucky will have the option to develop cybersecurity skills and earn key industry certifications in two online computer science classes through University of the Cumberlands at no cost to the student this summer and fall.

The Hazard, Kentucky-based Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), staff to the Eastern Kentucky Workforce Innovation board (EKWIB), serves jobseekers and employers throughout the region with a mission to prepare, advance, and expand the workforce, including younger generations. EKCEP is partnering with Cumberlands to offer computer science courses for the Summer II term and Fall I term. EKCEP will cover program costs for students chosen to participate.

“The events of the last few months have made clear the value of remote work opportunities such as positions in the field of cybersecurity. To that end, we’re pleased to partner with EKCEP in offering these cybersecurity courses to rising high school juniors and seniors throughout Eastern Kentucky,” said Dr. Larry Cockrum, President of University of the Cumberlands.  “We welcome all opportunities to provide quality education to anyone who wants to increase their knowledge and strengthen their skills to experience better success in their careers and in life. We are excited to see high school students actively learning about and participating in such a vital field.”

“Through strategic partnerships with the private sector, EKCEP is already providing training, industry-recognized certifications, and sector-led work-study experiences and job-placement services to Eastern Kentuckians in cybersecurity,” said Michael Cornett, EKCEP Director of Agency Expansion. 

“As we continue that work with our cybersecurity partners, we sought a way to give rising high school juniors and seniors the chance to plug into cybersecurity activity in a way that could open them up to a pathway toward additional post-secondary activity or even early entry into the field through access to remote-work job opportunities,” Cornett continued. “With University of the Cumberlands, we will be able to do exactly that, and with a higher-education partner with nationally recognized curriculum mapped directly to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Security Agency (NSA) cyber security education standards to best prepare students for a career in the field of cyber defense.”

All classes are online. Classes offered are ITSC 230 – Information Security and Assurance for the Summer II term, lasting June 29 – August 20, and ITSI 331 – Networking for the Fall I term, lasting August 24 – October 16.  After completion of these classes, students will have the skill set necessary to sit for industry-recognized CompTIA certification exams required for entry-level work in cybersecurity.

High school juniors and seniors in EKCEP counties can apply now for the courses at https://www.ucumberlands.edu/EKCEP.

Each class has a cap of 30 students. Applicable counties include Bell, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, and Wolfe.

Additional information concerning admission into Cumberlands programs is available at ucumberlands.edu/admissions/undergraduate.

Funding for EKCEP to cover program costs for students is provided through EKCEP’s TechHire Eastern Kentucky (TEKY) initiative and POWER funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).