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Biz Talk: Preparing high school students for cyber careers

This article was written by Sindy Yeh, Senior Business Ambassador for Arlington Economic Development.

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries in Arlington and Virginia. The Commonwealth has emerged as a national leader in cybersecurity and is at the forefront of talent development in the industry.

In 2018, Virginia established the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI), a statewide initiative focused on research, innovation, and workforce development at the intersection between cybersecurity, autonomous systems and intelligence.

CCI is divided into four regional nodes, each a network of highly connected organizations led by an institute of higher education. The Northern Virginia CCI node is comprised of Northern Virginia’s universities and colleges, nonprofits, federal agencies and companies, all sharing a commitment to build capacity in cybersecurity.

One of CCI’s workforce development initiatives is the High School Summer Internship program. It was created to expand the cybersecurity talent pipeline by reaching high school students who are 17 and above and interested in exploring cybersecurity as a possible career option.

2023 CCI High School Summer Interns Visiting Appian Headquarters

The internship includes professional skills training conducted by the Children Science Center followed by placement with Northern Virginia cyber-related organizations to prepare them to enter the cyber workforce of the future. The internship includes a program stipend at the successful completion of the 7-week program and is open to rising high school seniors and rising first-year college/university students.

SHIFT5, one of Arlington’s fastest growing cyber companies, is an industry partner this year. SHIFT5’s software and data platforms defend commercial and military fleets as well as weapons systems against operational failures and cybersecurity risks.

VP of Policy and Government Affairs, Jessica Carroll says, “Shift5 participated in the CCI summer high school internship program in order to support a critical STEM initiative in the Northern Virginia region: connecting highschoolers to tangible, accessible, real-world opportunities to foster curiosity and inspire learning in the pursuit of technology-forward field. We elected to go beyond the traditional coding aspect of such a CCI program and requested that the interns be ‘cyber-adjacent’ so they could work with and within the policy (and regulatory) environments governing the development, fielding, and programmatic implementation of unique emergent technologies such as those operational technology (OT) cyber capabilities unique to Shift5.”

Sara Ahmad, a rising senior at Washington-Liberty High School, was selected to work at SHIFT5 this summer.

“My time at Shift5 was an immensely valuable experience. The welcoming atmosphere fostered a sense of value and belonging right from the start. Despite my limited knowledge of policy and cybersecurity at the start of the internship, everyone at Shift5 made me feel appreciated and included… I also had the wonderful opportunity to meet Congressman Don Beyer, a moment that added tremendous value to my experience. Learning from his extensive expertise across a wide range of issues was truly invaluable.”

Programs like these, combined with Virginia’s $2 million investment in education, ensure Arlington companies will continue to have an impressive pipeline of talent from which to hire.

Recent Stories

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…

There’s no official word on its website, but it looks like Bar Ivy in Clarendon may have closed permanently.

There’s persistence, and then there is Audrey Clement and her decade-plus effort to get elected to local office in Arlington. Clement talked with ARLnow editor Scott Brodbeck to talk about…

Makers Union, an upscale gastropub, is set to open its doors in Pentagon City next week, says Alex Brown, the restaurant’s director of operations. This opening marks the third Makers Union location in the D.C. Metropolitan area, following the debut of its Reston location three years ago and a recent opening at the Wharf in early October.

Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.

Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.

Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.

Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!

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Submit your own Announcement here.

The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 77th annual Christmas tree sale!

This year, the tree sale will be held at the Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road). The lot opens for sales on November 24th. The Optimist Club is selling small and large trees ranging from tabletop size to 10 foot tall trees! Wreaths, garland, tree stands, and White House Christmas ornaments will also be for sale.

100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.

For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at

Submit your own Announcement here.

Holiday Art Show

Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to

Christmas Tree Sales

2023 Christmas Tree Sales Begin

Saturday, December 2

Get your holiday decorating off to the right start this year! We will be selling 150 Fraser firs, freshly cut and delivered from Sparta, North Carolina.

Sale Hours:

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