Education - Page 6 - Knowledge, from page 2

- Page 6
Knowledge, from page 2
Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) program. The grant sought to prepare students for certification tests in A+, Network+ and Security+ programs. These foundational certifications are required for entry into the IT profession.

Harford Community College trained a 10-person cohort in spring 2018. “There is a massive shortage of cybersecurity professionals,” says Pamela Karwowski, director, government contractor and IT training. With these initial certifications, an individual can expect a starting salary of $40,000 annually. In addition to hands-on coursework, instructors provided insight into the soft skills required in the workplace. “We taught about critical thinking, workplace communication and other skills to be job force ready,” says Karwowski.

Participants ranged from recent high school graduates to career-changers, including several who lost jobs and needed upgraded skills. As of January 2019, nine have completed one or more certifications. Four students completed all three. SWN is applying for another grant with Harford as its training partner.

Participants can use these certifications to take the next step and complete credit courses for more certifications or a degree. By giving people skills to make a living wage, she says, the community college changes lives.

“We see people who come in and do not have a job. They learn new skills and all of sudden, they have hope.” •