CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- The new school year has ushered in a new program at Basha High School, positioning students for success in the growing field of cybersecurity.

It's a profession desperate for talent and Basha is poised to churn it out.

The program, a partnership with Chandler-Gilbert Community College and the University of Arizona, is called the Institute of Cyber Operations and Networking (ICON). Students learn all things hardware and software. The program is housed in its own building and is on its own network.

"We are going to have an opportunity for kids to go play in this sandbox where they learn to hack or fight off hacks, and we don't want it to be in the same place as teacher grade books are or anything like that," said Basha Principal David Loutzenheiser. "We want to keep everything safe and secure."

[SPECIAL SECTION: State of Our Schools: The Search for Solutions]

Students who continue with the program can earn 70 college credits and six certifications.

"Those certifications are actually what the industry is looking for, and they can walk out of high school earning very good money," said cybersecurity teacher Douglas Taylor.

Scottsdale cybersecurity startup Trusona is always looking for more talent to build on their technology.

That's why their CEO and founder, Ori Eisen, helped create Cyber Security Canyon, Arizona's Cyber Security Coalition focused on attracting and retaining cyber talent while building education partners.

"The state that will invest in training their students in cybersecurity will create wealth, jobs, stability and power unlike any other place," said Eisen.

Steven Zylstra, CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, says the next generation of cybersecurity professionals can not be trained fast enough.

"Just in Arizona, there are over 7,000 open positions -- just in cybersecurity," said Zylstra. "I do not know whether or not in the next 10 years we can fill the gap because there is so much demand, believe it or not."

[WATCH: Thousands of cybersecurity jobs open in Arizona amid 'huge skills gap']

That excites and motivates Basha students.

"There is always going to be a job in cybersecurity," ICON student Ethan Earl said. "A lot of things seem complicated, but it just takes perseverance, and eventually, things come together."

[SPECIAL SECTION: State of Our Schools: The Search for Solutions]

For information about enrolling in ICON, or to learn about partnership opportunities, including potential mentorship or internship programs, click here

 


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