HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Huntsville City Schools today announced a new agreement between the school district and the U.S. Army Cyber Command to focus on the next generation of a cyber-security work force. Dr. Casey Wardynski was joined, via video conference from Fort Belvoir in Virginia, with LTG Rhett Hernandez, the Commander of the U.S. Army Cyber Command and 2nd U.S. Army to sign the Memorandum of Understanding for this new project.
Superintendent Wardynski evoked President John F. Kennedy’s iconic 1960’s era quotation regarding the challenges presented by space exploration in saying, “We’re some 50 years later and we face challenges to our very way of life, to the modern era, that threaten to undo the digital world and we choose to take on this challenge not because it is easy but because it is essential.”
This agreement will make Huntsville City Schools the only school system in the United States to have such a partnership with the U.S. Army. The project will develop a career pathway from middle school through high school that will prepare our students for high-wage jobs in the cyber security field.
“We have young adults right now who earn $20 an hour working over the summer for some of our local firms,” explained Wardynski. “Army Cyber Command is only 2 years old and they are growing rapidly to a force of about 6,000 personnel and about 80% of those will be military.”
With this partnership, the school district will not only work with the Army, but also West Point, and local industries to work on courses, certifications, and student behaviors which will allow students to obtain professional certifications, mastery of cyber security programs, and required top-secret informational clearances.
“Our young adults could immediately go into high-skill jobs, work at those for a while, come back and then work with Dynetics or Boeing or Lockheed,” explains Wardynski, “and very much create a workforce here in Huntsville that would become a center of excellence for the country.”
Wardynski says because the program will utilize equipment the district already has as part of its career readiness initiative, there will be no additional cost to the school system to implement it.