Cyber P-TECH at Sam Houston High School will debut 2019-2020 as the only Pathways in Technology Early College High School in San Antonio. It will have a focus on preparing students with the skills, credentials and an industry-specific associate degree necessary for high-wage, high-demand careers in cybersecurity.
Under the model, within four to six years, students will be able to earn a high school diploma, an associate degree, a two-year post-secondary certificate or industry certification, and complete work-based training through internships, apprenticeships or other job-training programs.
The program at Sam Houston High School will be a school within a school model. Applications will be accepted Nov. 26 – Feb. 8 from incoming 9th grade students throughout Bexar County for the 2019-2020 school year. It will ultimately become a full 9-12th grade high school, with a new grade being phased in each year.
The Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 22 in 2017, paving the way for school districts to work with the Texas Education Agency to launch P-TECH programs. In the P-TECH model, schools partner with Texas institutions of higher education and regional businesses and industries, giving students post-secondary education and workforce training opportunities.
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Cyber P-TECH at Sam Houston will partner with St. Philip’s College, within the Alamo Colleges District, pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. St. Philip’s College has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
Through St. Philip’s, Cyber P-TECH students will have the opportunity to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology Cybersecurity Specialist degree. The degree will prepare students to design, implement and secure computer networks. Students with this degree will be able to install security software, monitor networks for security breaches, respond to cyber-attacks and gather data and evidence to be used in prosecuting cybercrime.
As early as students’ second year in the program, they will be able to earn an Information Technology industry certification. As high school juniors, they will have the opportunity to earn CompTIA Linux and CompTIA Security certifications. By the fall of their senior year, they will be able to earn an Information Technology Cybersecurity Specialist Level 1 certificate. As early as the spring of their senior year, students can earn associate degrees specifically tied to the cybersecurity industry.
Students also will have the opportunity to learn from industry partners and gain real-world experience through mentorships, job shadowing, internships, professional skills development and field experiences. Students who complete the program will have priority in interviewing with participating employers.
The anchor industry partner is Accenture Federal Services, which created an apprenticeship program in San Antonio to provide under-represented groups greater access to digital-economy jobs while building a pipeline of talent to help address the widening technology skills gap. The company has more than 30 years of cybersecurity experience serving clients who are at the heart of the nation’s priorities in defense, intelligence, public safety, health and civilian issues – including every cabinet-level department within the federal government.
Additional industry partners include DC Industries, MIMS Institute Fellows Inc. and Tech Skills on Wheels. Other partners are expected to sign on in the coming weeks and months.
Cyber P-TECH, USA will operate as a school within a school at Sam Houston High School on a lottery system. The application period for the first class of 150 ninth graders will start November 2018. The school is based on 100% open enrollment, with no barriers for attendance.
The program will be led by Ashlyn Barrientes, P-TECH coordinator at Sam Houston High School.
Students will work with top-notch companies who will partner as instructors and mentors. Students will also be trained to become more self-aware, emotionally healthy, persistent and resilient.
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This article originally appeared in the San Antonio Observer.