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Mayor Emanuel and DOD Announce Cutting-Edge Cyber Security Training at CCC

1/18/2017 10:00 AM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined officials from the U.S. Department of Defense and City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) today in announcing a new cyber security training initiative to prepare students for highly skilled jobs in one of the nation's fastest growing industries. A city-federal investment will power an intensive, state of the art pilot program that will train students in cyber security best practices to prepare them to secure critical computer networks in the public and private sectors.    

The new cyber security training initiative makes CCC the first and only community colleges system in the nation to adopt a high-quality training module from the U.S. military.   

"Recent events on the national and global stage have demonstrated the critical need to secure our sensitive data and information technology -- in the both the public and private sectors," said Mayor Emanuel. "That's why the City of Chicago is partnering with DoD to prepare a highly-skilled workforce by tapping talent from the Military, Veterans and local students to meet the urgent needs of the military and employers where thousands of jobs are added in this field each year."   

Recognizing the urgency of developing expertise and skilled workers in the field of cyber security, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)has joined CCC to pilot the new immersive cyber security boot camp this spring, modeled after the intensive, six-month course prototyped with government personnel at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. By forming a partnership with DoD to identify best practices, CCC will be training civilians and transitioning service members with active duty personnel on its campuses.   

“Our service men and women know firsthand the urgency and importance of an effective cyber operations force to meet the critical security needs of our nation,” said Frank DiGiovanni, Director of Force Training, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness at the Department of Defense. “We are bringing the DoD’s proven method to Chicago to offer the economic hub of the Midwest the same kind of confidence we've provided on a national scale."   

The first cohort of cyber security apprentices at CCC will be a mix of service members and civilians. Those completing the boot camp will sit for the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) Certification Test-–a highly sought after credential in the cyber security industry. Completers of this same boot camp at Fort McNair boast a pass rate of 80 percent, for this very challenging cyber competency exam.     

With more employers choosing to do business in Chicago, and to keep up with the demands for the surging technology scene, the addition of new cyber security training opportunities are more critical now than ever before.   

The total $1.5 million cooperative investment by the City of Chicago and the Department of Defense is a down payment on both the pilot and the development of a full-fledged credit-bearing pathway at CCC. Mayor Emanuel will leverage the federal commitment by investing $1 million from property tax rebate funds to support the program.    

"The new cyber boot camp builds on our efforts to transform the City Colleges with industry-aligned instruction to match the jobs that exist today and will position our students and graduates for careers over the long-term in this fast-growing field," said CCC Chancellor Cheryl L. Hyman.         

Wilbur Wright College, where the boot camp and developing cyber security pathway will be housed, is designated as CCC’s Center of Excellence for IT education. Adding a cyber security focus and boot camp program complements the college’s existing IT offerings, and will draw upon the campus’ existing infrastructure, as well as its exclusive partnerships with leading Chicago IT industry partners that provide students hands-on exposure and internship opportunities. The college already offers several associate degree and certificate programs in IT that include computer science, networking systems and technology, web development.     

To engage the highly-skilled cyber security apprentices completing the boot camp, several of the city’s corporate leaders in the IT industry—including Accenture, Allstate, Aon, ComEd, Keeper Security and Microsoft—have committed to providing cybersecurity students with a range of supports, including: internship opportunities, ongoing mentoring, recruitment and job placement, and to advise CCC on curriculum development. The City of Chicago will commit to identifying internship opportunities to meet its own internal IT needs, and to foster a pipeline that will help boot camp completers connect with jobs in the field upon certification.   

"We take very seriously our responsibility to maintain the safety and security of the energy grid that serves 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois," said Fidel Marquez, Jr., Senior Vice President of Governmental and Community Affairs at ComEd. "As a local company that regularly partners with federal, state, and local organizations on emergency preparedness and cybersecurity, we are proud to support this new training program and we look forward to working with next generation of cybersecurity experts it will surely produce."   

“There has been a rise in advanced persistent threats and nation-state cyber activity over the last decade,” said Scott Charney, corporate vice-president, Microsoft. “Microsoft invests more than a billion dollars in security and security research and development every year to help protect customers, and we are excited to support this program that aims to train students in cyber security to help make a safer internet.”   

As the City of Chicago continues to prepare for job growth and to meet employer demands, Mayor Emanuel continues to invest in education and job training opportunities to not only prepare the next generation for in demand jobs, but to also assure employers of the quality and preparedness of the workforce. Opportunities to develop in-demand cyber security and web programming skills build upon the work by CCC to align its pathways with some of the most rapidly growing industries.    

This modernization, coupled with closer collaboration with industry leaders and four-year institutions, and innovative programs like the Star Scholarship, has led CCC to deliver unprecedented student outcomes and progress toward preparing more of Chicago’s students for college and career.       

Click here​ to apply to the Cyber Security Training Program through April 8, 2017.   
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