Actions works to educate youth about cyber career awareness in grades K-12

Posted at 1:35 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 17:34:17-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Cyber criminals have caused major disruptions to systems in the United States in recent weeks.

The world’s biggest meat supplier was the latest victim of a cyber attack.

JBS Foods had its systems hacked. Operations were disrupted and computer networks were impacted in North America and Australia. This comes three weeks after hackers targeted Colonial Pipeline and that shut down caused chaos at the pumps briefly.

“We see a lot of foreign pressure coming at a more rapid pace I think than we might have in the past,” said Dr. Chuck Gardner, “There are vulnerabilities that are being exploited.”

Dr. Gardner is with, a group that targets K-12 students on IT and cyber career awareness.

“We see a dramatic need for cybersecurity professionals in this country,” said Dr. Gardner.

This is why they believe in starting IT and cyber education at a young age.

“ has identified K-12 education as the point where we need to begin educating students in cyber awareness and awareness of career fields in cyber,” said Dr. Gardner.

They’ve partnered with many schools and provide curriculum to districts around the country and currently part of a bootcamp for middle and high school kids at Radford University.

“I liked it. It was interesting trying to figure out and decode what they're asking,” said Max Kanipe, a 15-year-old who is part of the camp.

Dr. Chuck Gardner said the camp covers many different aspects but will give kids the ability to deal with a ransomware attack on a Windows device. He said they deal with the attack and then educate the students on how to defend against an attack.

“It is really useful,” said Eadric May, a 16-year-old in the camp, “and the problem solving and everything you learn from it can help basically with whatever you do.”

“I think it's also like a good introduction to code in some areas of it, and I think it can just really get you to think more deeply and more critically,” said Adam McGregor, a 15-year-old who is part of the camp.

They said they want to educate kids in IT at an earlier age in hopes of eventually filling more of those jobs and protecting our country.

“It's certainly like puzzle solving if you can do some simpler puzzles at first, you find yourself moving on higher and higher to levels you never dreamed possible,” said David Horton, a representative from Radford University.

For more information about the organization,click here