New cyber academy gives Lakota students more career options

Lakota Schools’ historic expansions into the digital learning will soon include a “cyber academy” for its high school students.

In the last two years, Butler County’s largest school system in 2017 has aggressively launched new digital instructional programs designed to better prepare its students into careers and college.

Wednesday evening saw the first informational event on the recently formed Lakota Cyber Academy where students will learn computing skills making them employable in America’s booming cybersecurity industries.

Lakota officials said they projected a few dozen school parents and their children attending.

Nearly 300 showed up at the Cincinnati Marriott North Hotel in West Chester Twp.

“There is a tremendous need in the cybersecurity field that will only continue to grow,” said Lakota Superintendent Matt Miller, who since taken over leadership of the district two years ago has made expanding digital learning programs a priority for Lakota’s 16,500 students.

“Our new Cyber Academy will help to prepare students for entry into this field by incorporating real-world learning into the program through internships and the ability to earn industry certifications,” he said.

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The academy, which will enroll sophomores, juniors and seniors in classes at Lakota’s two high schools, is a first of its kind for the district, though it has partnered for years with the Butler Tech school system. Butler Tech offers dozens of career-oriented learning programs designed to help high school students and graduates progress quickly into careers or college.

Experts cite the need for more workers in cybersecurity as industry experts predict there will be 3.5 million jobs in cybersecurity by 2021 that will go unfilled.

Starting pay for high school graduates who have learned the computer skills and certification necessary to enter the industry can be as high as $60,000 a year.

The program will start in full force in the 2019-2020 school year, said school officials.

In Southwest Ohio, Belcan’s the only other school district partner to date are the Cincinnati Public Schools.

The Cyber Academy was made possible through a partnership with Blue Ash-based Belcan Corporate, which is part of a global network of companies that are suppliers of engineering, supply chain, technical recruiting and IT services to customers in the aerospace, defense, automotive, industrial and government sectors.

It will use Lakota high school teachers with support from Belcan personnel.

The corporation will cover all costs for Lakota’s course offerings.

Belcan Vice President Ron Ford was among the speakers. He said Lakota was chosen by the corporation in large part because of the sweeping reforms toward digital learning installed since Miller took over the leadership.

“We were looking for schools that have a progressive way of looking at this,” said Ford.

Lakota school parent Vinnie Behrmann, of Liberty Twp., listened to the speakers about the program along with his two children.

“I’ve encouraged by the whole idea. It’s the future, and we’re here now,” he said.

For more information go to Lakota Schools' website .

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