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In the winter of 2019, a group of college faculty members, education consultants and government employees from the Department of Education and the National Security Agency were discussing how to address a talent gap in cybersecurity — there were more 300,000 job openings in the growing sector and no one qualified to fill them. Their idea: train career and technical educators to teach students about the field and build a pathway from K-12 to a career.
In early 2020, the Department of Education, in collaboration with several other federal agencies, launched CTE CyberNet, an intensive professional development program for K-12 educators that would meet in person over the summer. Then the pandemic hit. Like most everything else that summer, the program moved online — and educators quickly realized just how crucial a background in cybersecurity would be.
Robbie Harris, at the time a workplace learning specialist for the San Antonio Independent School District, was one of 30 educators in…