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Pinckney says they have nation's first cybersecurity program at a high school

Andy Simonds
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Pinckney Community Schools says it recently became the first school district in the nation to start a cybersecurity program.

Jim Darga is the director of the Cybesecurity Institute at Pinckney Community Schools.

He says students are learning skills that are already in high demand in the professional world.

"They're embarking on a potential career that could go in a lot of different directions," Darga says. "Because all aspects, whether it's business, government, military -- all need cybersecurity professionals now."

Darga has over 20 years of educational experience. Years ago, he taught vocational education.

He says in the 1980's and 90's, skilled-trades programs were slowly stripped away from public schools.

"Nationwide, we have allowed our vocational education programs at the high school level really to erode to the point where in many cases it is really nonexistent," Darga said.

But he says student interest has driven the creation and success of technology-based programs at Pinckney Community Schools, and students are learning skills that are in-demand.

A team of Pinckney Students turned heads at the Department of Defense when they competed at a national cybersecurity competition lain 2015.

Darga says the Department of Defense and the Michigan Economic Development Corporations contributed matching funds to help create the Cybersecurity Institute at Pinckney Community Schools.

In addition to teaching Pinckney students, the Institute also offers cybersecurity training to college students and professionals.

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