Roane State and local partners brainstorm ways to match cybersecurity students with mentors

By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer

LENOIR CITY, Tenn. – Roane State Community College is teaming up with Lenoir City High School administrators and a state official to brainstorm ways to match dual enrollment cybersecurity students with potential mentors and prospective employers.

Funding for a high-tech computer lab to teach principles of cybersecurity in Lenoir City High School was included in a nearly $1 million Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) grant awarded to Roane State.

A portion of that grant – more than $125,000 – has been allocated to equip the computer lab, located in the high school’s Career and Technical Education Building.

Dr. George Meghabghab, director of the Roane State Computer Information Technology program, teaches the class. Dual enrollment students receive both high school and Roane State academic credits for the program.

The GIVE grant includes funding to support a work-based learning coordinator position at LCHS. This position can assist students, connecting them with internships and mentorships. Those opportunities are “an excellent way for students to get first-hand experience in their chosen fields,” said Kim Harris, Roane State’s director of workforce training and placement.

Tennessee Board of Regents official Danny Satterfield called work-based learning “a proactive approach to bridging the gap between high school and high-demand, high-skill careers in Tennessee.” He said students can build on classroom-based instruction “to develop employability skills.”

Both Satterfield and Mark Weeks, director of the Lenoir City High Career and Technical Education programs, said the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected work-based programs, with potential employers currently reluctant to participate in many of them.

Chris Pickell, coordinator of the work-based learning program, said he will assemble a list of potential industries and businesses where mentorship programs may be possible. A list of guest speakers will be compiled, he said, and the possibility of virtual tours of industries will be considered.

About Bob Fowler

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