CAP Announces Partnership with Cisco Networking Academy
Maj. Jacob Bixler
Public Affairs Officer
Civil Air Patrol is partnering with Cisco Networking Academy (NetAcad) to make cybersecurity support, training and curriculum resources available for free to all 60,000 CAP members.
The partnership with Cisco was announced at CAP’s recent 2020 National Conference to benefit CAP cadets, many of whom are already involved in cyber defense education and competition, and also generate excitement among senior members interested in cybersecurity.
“I am excited to bring NetAcad to CAP members, as it will give them an opportunity to learn cybersecurity, networking and other skills that can be tied with their work in CAP and in industry,” said Sara Shreve, Cisco corporate social responsibility manager. “NetAcad provides foundational knowledge that accelerates one’s ability to find a career or upgrade their current skillset. I have personally seen this become a reality for many students.”
Before the partnership, access to NetAcad was limited to CAP’s CyberPatriot team members, mentors and coaches of the hundreds of teams that competed across the nation with a specific curriculum. The cadets’ involvement in NetAcad helped bolster their skills over the past 10 years of the CyberPatriot competition and has led many into the cybersecurity industry.
“With over 4½ million open cybersecurity job openings around the world, CAP is dedicated to maturing and evolving its cybersecurity mission support,” said Capt. Roy Vestal, the Cisco Networking Academy leader for CAP, who is also a Cisco employee. “We want to make sure more cadets and senior members alike have the skills to support their communities, states, the nation and even the world, whether as a volunteer or as a career.”
The NetAcad partnership will help accomplish that. The NetAcad program offers training courses that prepare students for the workforce of tomorrow. Its hands-on, real-world curriculum provides marketable skills that directly accelerate the ability to find a job. In addition, the training prepares students to acquire industry certifications.
“This partnership provides strong member value and creates enhanced value to employers, too,” said Kristina Jones, CAP’s chief of philanthropy. ”In the last few years, CAP has actively sought partnerships which elevate our mission and strengthen the communities we serve.”
Other courses explore topics at a high level for those who want to learn where they might begin when working in the cybersecurity realm. Cisco Talent Bridge is part of the NetAcad program, which provides virtual job fairs and career advice and allows participants to learn about cybersecurity job roles. The Talent Bridge Matching Engine allows them to create a profile and be matched with jobs that fit their skills, education and experience. CAP members will be able to submit their resumes directly to employers using this tool.
A Learn-A-Thon announced at the National Conference will officially open CAP’s access to the NetAcad program. CAP regions and wings will compete to have the highest number of cadets and senior members complete the 15-hour Introduction to Cybersecurity course.
CAP members who participate in the Learn-A-Thon and pass the introductory course will be rewarded with a Cisco Intro to Cybersecurity digital badge. In addition, all who participate in the Learn-A-Thon will be issued a Learn-a-Thon Experience badge.
Enrollment for the Learn-A-Thon will start Sept. 14, and the links to register will be emailed out from the wing coordinators. Further details on the Learn-A-Thon can be found at https://www.netacadlearnathon.com/projects/civilairpatrol-2020/.