New UCS cybersecurity course allows students to explore growing CTE field
New UCS cybersecurity course allows students to explore growing CTE field
Posted on 07/25/2018
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Utica Community Schools has created a new opportunity for students that meets a growing business demand for skilled employees to address cybersecurity threats.

A cybersecurity course, offered through the district’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department, will allow high school students to explore and earn direct certification in a field where demand for frontline specialists in southeast Michigan has grown by more than 400 percent since 2010. 

“UCS provides students a competitive advantage for the high paying jobs of the future,” Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns said. “Through partnerships with industry leaders, UCS teachers are working to ensure students have access to the careers and fields that will help drive this region’s economy.”

The course was approved by the UCS Board of Education in March and offered to students during spring registration. The year-long course will begin this fall.

Through this course, UCS students will study how businesses are addressing the critical issue of cybersecurity, which a 2018 IBM study estimated costs businesses an average of $3.86 million for each data breach (Cost of Data Breach Study,

The specific course goals stress:

  • What cybersecurity means to individuals personally and professionally.
  • How to be safe online by understanding common threats, attacks and vulnerabilities.
  • Strategies businesses are using to protect their operations from cyber-attacks and the growth of the cybersecurity industry.
  • Connecting students with the global Cisco Networking Academy, a community of educators and students in 180 countries that supports digital education in areas that are in the greatest demand by employers.

Students completing the course will have the ability to earn CompTIA A+ certification, a globally-recognized industry standard.

Specialists in cybersecurity continue to be in high demand.

The Cybersecurity Skills Gap Analysis, issued by the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan, reported in July 2017 that specialists are earning more than double the national median hourly wage and that employer demand in southeast Michigan for frontline security workers has increased by 414 percent between 2010 and 2016. (Cybersecurity Skills Gap Analysis,

The report describes “Frontline Security Workers” as those individuals who work directly with technical design and implementation of Cybersecurity strategies.

Utica Community Schools continues to be a leader in addressing the skills gap through a comprehensive CTE program.

Through CTE, UCS students have the option of investigating a variety of pathways, including careers in Arts and Communications, Business Management, Industrial Engineering, Human Services and Health Sciences.

Other educational opportunities available include articulated college credit Career Information Centers in all four comprehensive high schools (Eisenhower, Henry Ford II, Stevenson and Utica high schools), industry certifications, School-to-Registered Apprenticeship opportunities, internships and job shadowing.

This year, the Utica Center for Science and Industry (UCSI) earned national recognition for a film project that used virtual reality technology to demonstrate the importance of arts education.

UCSI, a high school specialty program, allows students to pursue three career-focused pathways—multimedia production, engineering technology and mechatronics. 

This past year, a “Gone Boarding” program - one of the four in the State of Michigan - was piloted to provide students the opportunity to design, build and test surfboards, snowboard, stand up paddle board and skateboards.

This school year, a four-year Stevenson Center for Manufacturing, Automation, Design and Engineering  (MADE) program will give students rigorous academic content blended with practical experiences in fabrication, automation and design engineering. In addition to specialized courses, advanced manufacturing principles will be integrated into all core academic courses of English, social studies, math and science.