RICHMOND, Va. — Grants announced by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) this week will support 32 cybercamp programs for high school students this summer. The goal of the programs is to raise student awareness of career opportunities in the rapidly growing field of cybersecurity and help achieve Governor Terry McAuliffe’s goal of making Virginia the “cybersecurity capital of the nation.”
“The camps will introduce students to the field of cybersecurity and the cybersecurity-related credentials they can earn through local career and technical education programs,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said. “The camps also will serve as models for the development of additional efforts to prepare students to meet the commonwealth’s cybersecurity workforce needs.”
The 38 participating school divisions were selected based on the percentage of students eligible for free- or reduced-priced meals and are as follows:
- Hopewell (with Dinwiddie County)
- Richmond (2 camps)
- Newport News
- Northern Neck Technical Center (Camp 1: Essex County, Lancaster County and Richmond County; Camp 2: Westmoreland County, Northumberland County and Colonial Beach)
- Manassas Park
- Page County
- Nelson County
- Henry County
- Pittsylvania County
- Carroll County (with Grayson County and Galax)
- Pulaski County
- Tazewell County
- Brunswick County
- Cumberland County
- Halifax County
- Lunenburg County
- Mecklenburg County
Each division, or consortia of divisions, received $62,500 for each camp. The grants were made from funding approved by the 2015 General Assembly to support innovative extended-year programs.
The Cyber Innovation Center, a division of the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center, and VDOE will provide regional training and planning workshops this spring to help divisions create the cybercamps.
The cybercamps will offer at least 70 hours of instruction and will include project-driven learning, field trips, guest speakers and a culminating recognition program.
“Participating in one of these summer camps could be the first step toward a career in a high-demand field with starting annual salaries as high as $88,000,” VDOE Director of Career and Technical Education Lolita Hall said.
According to a recent analysis of Virginia Employment Commission workforce data, by 2022, the commonwealth will be home to more than 350,000 cybersecurity and related jobs in areas such as telecommunications, programming and software development, and engineering and technology.