In conjunction with the third Rhode Island Cyber Foundations Competition since he brought the contest to the Ocean State in 2010, Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) is encouraging local businesses in the Information Technology and Cybersecurity fields to join the effort designed to enhance the computer networking skills of high school students while introducing them to cybersecurity. Companies interested in engaging students in their work have an opportunity, beginning this summer and in the future, to seek out intern candidates from current and past contests. Participants have previously interned with the Ocean State Higher Education Economic Development and Administrative Network (OSHEAN) and NetCenergy in Warwick.
The Cyber Foundations Competition, part of a national program administered by the National Board of Information Security Examiners (NBISE), consists of a series of timed quizzes that test students' aptitude in the three most important foundational skills of effective cybersecurity: networking, operating systems and system administration. The spring 2012 edition is running this month.
"This program at the secondary school level, combined with joint efforts by a number of colleges in our state, should be a model for training Rhode Islanders in growing industries like cybersecurity," said Langevin, co-founder of the bipartisan Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus. "But you can't have effective workforce development unless the business community is fully engaged and it is imperative that we increase their involvement with initiatives like this competition."
Langevin noted that internships would help students see the potential for pursuing a career in cybersecurity and other growing industries requiring computer skills. To learn more details and get involved, businesspeople should contact the state's competition coordinator, Erin Flynn of New England Institute of Technology, at eflynn AT neit DOT edu. Students would expect to make a minimum of a 2-4 week commitment, with further details to be worked out between them and the company.
"As more agencies, corporations and individuals experience financial loss, harmed reputations and intellectual-property theft as a result of hackers, the market for computer security services grows," said Langevin. "We have an opportunity to make our state a leader in this emerging industry, but we need all of those with a stake in this effort to come together to build a qualified workforce that will allow businesses to thrive here."
About the RI Cyber Foundations Competition
Langevin started the Cyber Foundations Competition in Rhode Island by bringing together the New England Institute of Technology, the state's Department of Education, the Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council and Tech Collective as part of his efforts to improve our state's workforce development in emerging industries. In its second edition, Rhode Island had the highest participation rate of any state in the country. The top finishers are recognized with awards, including cash prizes from the national competition administrators, currently NBISE.
Past State Winners:
Fall 2011: Adam Sowden, Exeter West Greenwich High School class of 2014
Winter 2010-2011: Luca Spinazzola, Narragansett High School class of 2011