Great blog story about FIRST and the importance of STEM fields from Congressman Jim Langevin.
Tech First at FIRST Tech
It is a joy to attend FIRST robotics competitions each year, to watch the program grow into the towering success that it is today, and to see the interest and participation increase year to year. These programs are vital to spurring interest in the fields of science, math, engineering and technology.
As co-chair of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus, I continually advocate for programs that increase enrollment in STEM fields. Closing the skills gap by giving students and workers the tools to succeed in the modern economy is how we will create an economy built to last. FIRST is one of my favorite student outreach programs, and it has already inspired countless students to pursue careers in STEM. For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST as it is known, was founded by my friend Dean Kamen – a brilliant innovator who uses his ideas to push the boundaries of health care, science and technology. Among his many distinguished achievements, he has invented the first portable insulin pump, an advanced robotic arm, the Segway and my personal IBOT wheelchair.
Dean can now add teacher to his resume, as the FIRST competition has done an exceptional job at engaging young people and getting them excited about learning. That enthusiasm is palpable. I couldn’t believe how excited the students were at the FIRS
New England Tech along with the Rhode Island Department of Education, the RI Science & Technology Advisory Council, and the Tech Collective join Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) in offering the Rhode Island Cyber Foundations Competition.
Known as Cyber Aces Online (ACES), the competition is designed to identify and nurture talented individuals who can become the future cyber policy professionals for United States companies and government agencies.
Because the nation is facing a shortage of cyber security professionals, the Cyber Aces Online competition was developed to offer individuals a fundamental knowledge of cyber security.
Deemed as one of the most effective Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) competitions in the nation, ACES is an entry-level competition focusing on a series of increasingly challenging contests sponsored by the Cyber Aces Foundation. This organization works to significantly reduce the shortage in the cyber workforce by identifying, recruiting and placing the next generation of cyber security professionals. The three areas of study will include networking, operating systems, and system administration.
“It is clear that sufficiently securing our networks, whether in government or the private sector, will require a well-trained cyber security workforce. As a result of efforts such as the Rhode Island Cyber Foundation Competitions, the RI Cyber Disruption Team, and the University of Rhode Island’s annual Cyber Security Symposia, we are building a statewide consortium that will work to expand the cyber security workforce in Rhode Island, while meeting the increasing need for a strong public-private relationship in cyber space,” said Congressman Langevin.
In past years, the competition was only open to high school students. However, this year, in addition to high schools students, all teachers, administrators, college students, veterans, job seekers, and those seeking a career change are invited. Participation in the competition is free!
Cyber Aces Online has two parts:
- Online tutorials, video and audio education materials that allow participants to expand their knowledge
- Quizzes that allow participants to demonstrate mastery
All topics have a separate set of educational materials and a separate test. Each tutorial module ends with an online competition day quiz where participants’ skills will be tested in a series of questions. Competition day quizzes can be completed in 40 – 90 minutes. After all the three quizzes are completed, the final ranks will be determined by the participants’ cumulative scores.
Winners are then eligible to receive a range of prizes from awards and recognition by government and business leaders, to invitations to Cyber Aces Academies, internships, and scholarships.
Individuals interested in participating in this exciting competition should visit www.cyberaces.org to register or contact Erin Flynn, Manager of Admissions Outreach and Events at NEIT as well as the Rhode Island Cyber Aces Online State Coordinator, for more information. High schools, after school programs, Civil Air Patrol teams, computer clubs and other groups are welcome to register as well. The registration deadline is Friday, October 12, 2013. The competitions are scheduled as follows: October 15-16: Competition for Module 1; November 5-6: Competition for Module 2; December 18-19: Competition for Module 3; December 31: Access to content expires.
As Langevin stated, “These education and training opportunities will direct young people into cyber security and other industries with high growth potential, and provide them with the tools to be competitive in the modern job market. As the cyber security workforce grows, it is also my hope that additional training programs will be developed for unemployed or underemployed individuals looking for new challenges. I believe that Rhode Island can and must be a leader in cyber security, and I hope that our efforts will grow into a national model for harnessing young talent.”
“New England Tech is proud to once again work as an affiliate partner of the Cyber Aces Competition,” stated Flynn. “The mission of the program is to build a future workforce with the cyber security skills required to meet the high demand in both the private and public sectors. We are pleased to be affiliated with this most important program.”