Students took their education from the classroom to the office during Belcan Workshop Day, when they experienced a day in the life at the technology firm.
The trip was part of a cybersecurity training partnership between Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School and Belcan, which equips students with the tools needed to enter a high-demand industry after graduation.
Belcan’s manager of Windows and business systems, Jeff Hodosko, presented to students about his daily roles and responsibilities and even showed off some of the servers that he manages shortly after they arrived.
Hodosko spoke with students about the education required to succeed in IT. “Certification and training are crucial in this field, but there are plenty of different ways to get those,” he explained. “Whether it’s through a technology bootcamp or training course, college isn’t always necessary.” He made it clear, however, that the learning never stops. “In the world of IT, the technology is changing so rapidly that you’re constantly learning. A lot of what I do sometimes is research, because if there is a problem that I have to fix, it’s likely an issue we’ve never seen before.”
Throughout their visit, students visited a variety of IT departments and spoke with professionals involved in everything from security engineering to desktop support and more.
Brittney Cousins, Cincinnati Public Schools’ career-based learning manager, says that experiences like this are crucial. “You can only get so far in a textbook or on the computer,” she shared. “Putting a face to the role and seeing our lessons put into action are priceless. Giving students the opportunity to see, touch and feel the environment of a job like this gives them the chance to better envision their future and see what opportunities are out there.”
One opportunity born out of this cybersecurity partnership is a summer internship program. Christopher Rudolph interned with Belcan last summer, an experience that proved invaluable. He shared: “When I first arrived, I was so nervous, I thought I was just going to be given small jobs by a bunch of strict bosses. But everyone was so nice; they took their time with me and walked me through everything I needed to learn. I was never lost about anything.”
A junior at Taft, Rudolph plans to be a cybersecurity analyst one day and said that learning outside of the classroom was a game changer. “When you read stuff inside the classroom and then see it in real life, it’s really cool. I already knew a little bit, but when you get here and see it [in action], everything just clicks in your mind,” he continued.
The cybersecurity partnership between Taft and Belcan is a part of CPS’ broader approach to career-based learning and is just one of many partnerships between the school district and local businesses. CPS also partners with Messer Construction, GE Aviation, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and more.
You can keep up with all the great things happening at Taft IT High School at taftiths.cps-k12.org.