ABERDEEN – Aberdeen High School students will have the opportunity next fall to take advanced placement computer science classes, thanks to a partnership between Computer Science for ALL and the Air Force JROTC headquarters.

The school’s JROTC program is one of two such programs in Mississippi and 30 in the nation selected for the JROTC-CS Demonstration Project. Last October, Williams saw the opportunity and expressed Aberdeen’s interest to participate.

“It will expose them to the vast number of jobs in the cyber arena that the country has. I saw something recently that in the state of Mississippi alone, there were tens of thousands of empty [cyber-related] jobs currently vacant with starting salaries in the $50, $60, $70,000 a year range. It creates an opportunity for our kids to have something on their resumes coming up in high school. You can use those certifications to go directly to work or you can go on to college, and it would really help your competition to get into college to study that at the advanced level,” said AHS JROTC Instructor Maj. Allen Williams.

He and other teachers will travel to Washington D.C. this week to learn more about the program. Madison Central High School’s JROTC is the other Mississippi program participating. There are 900 JRTOC programs throughout the nation.

The AHS JROTC program already offers the CyberPatriot co-curricular program, which teaches cybersecurity elements. Students participating have the opportunity to compete for scholarships during the summer between their sophomore and junior years for a cyber academy at Mississippi State University.

“It offers cybersecurity-type classes, and they have the opportunity to earn two industry certifications. They’re going to earn college hours also. This scholarship is at no expense to the students,” Williams said. “Ultimately, our intent is for students to take an A.P. computer science exam and earn credit towards successfully completing that.

The upcoming A.P. computer science program and CyberPatriot are two ways of developing a potential career pathway.

“The Air Force is really no different from any industry. They have to grow their workforce in areas like these,” Williams said. “We have a responsibility at the high school to expose students to the opportunities out there and to prepare them for those opportunities.”

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