Security Experts:

CISA-Funded Project Enables Students With Disabilities to Learn Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity workforce development organization CYBER.ORG on Monday announced the launch of Project Access, a national effort to provide cybersecurity education to blind and visually impaired students.

Courtesy of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Cybersecurity Education and Training Assistance Program (CETAP) grant, the program will include a series of summer camps meant to introduce students aged 13 to 21 to key cybersecurity topics and help them develop skills that will allow them to pursue potential careers in the industry.

The program was piloted in 2017 in collaboration with Virginia’s Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI), to create a cybersecurity curriculum for the blind and vision impaired. Ninety-four percent of the students participating in Virginia’s DBVI programming have shown interest in pursuing cybersecurity education and careers.

Nonvisual techniques will be used with students with no prior computer or technology experience, while those with secondary disabilities will have access to hands-on learning opportunities and STEM career exploration.

Under CYBER.ORG’s supervision, local teachers will lead Linux summer camps in Virginia (June 27 to July 1) and Michigan (August 1 to August 5), and robotics summer camps in Arkansas (July 18 to July 22), and Maine (July 25 to July 29). Students will also meet cybersecurity professionals.

In Linux camps, students will learn about network and server operations, how to set up servers, and how to verify if websites are 508 compliant. In robotics camps, students will learn basic coding skills, circuit construction, bot assembly, and best practices for cyber safety applications.

“We are always striving to try and find opportunities for students that help shatter the misconceptions that these students and others have about their blindness and their career prospects,” Carol Jenkins, deputy director of services at the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (NCBVI), said.

“When we find strong programming in the STEAM field where our population is so often underrepresented, we embrace it enthusiastically. CYBER.ORG workshops and curriculums are designed intentionally and allow for the independence of every student,” Jenkins continued.

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