MSHA Corporate | News Article

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mountain States IS team members inspire youth at UVA-Wise Career Academy

Daniel Barbrow, Wesley Combs and Dustin Quillen, Mountain States IS analysts, led the workshop.

 

Several members of the Mountain States IS team recently led a workshop for young adults from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, focusing on cybersecurity and an introduction to information technology.

Daniel Barbrow, Wesley Combs and Dustin Quillen, Mountain States IS systems analysts, had served as mentors for UVA-Wise Abingdon’s WiseHacks hack-a-thon earlier this year and were approached by UVA again to lead a workshop at their Career Academy Summer Camp focusing on cybersecurity and an introduction to information technology.

Students were each given a Raspberry Pi microcomputer.“I was impressed with how excited the students were; they were really engaged and interactive,” Combs said. “One of them approached me and said that they were going to enroll at UVA so they could learn more about IT because of our workshop. That was very gratifying.”

The workshop covered IT basics like operating system installation, cybersecurity tools and concepts, and even coding concepts by programming their own game. Every student attending the workshop received their own Raspberry Pi microcomputer to keep.

The event came about after People Incorporated and the New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Development Board presented UVA-Wise Abingdon with the opportunity to coordinate their annual Career Academy Summer Camp.

Career Academy is offered as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which is designed to improve our nation’s public workforce system and help youth with significant barriers to employment start into high-quality jobs and careers. Nearly 75 young adults from economically disadvantaged backgrounds were introduced to career pathways in cyber security, health care and advanced manufacturing. Under WIOA, youth from across the region were able to participate in Career Academy at no cost to them.

By the end of each camp, every person left with a few items to encourage continued interest in their chosen career pathway, as well as their own leather-bound portfolio and polo shirt appropriate for their next job interview.