Native Hawaiian students at Windward Community College were granted paid cybersecurity internships at a telecommunications company in Hawaii. After six weeks, eight of them completed the program.
The initiative was to help meet the growing demand for cybersecurity experts in Hawaii and support a Native Hawaiian Career and Technical Education project funded by the US Department of Education.
The internship also broadened students’ understanding of information security and how plentiful work opportunities are, particularly for fresh graduates.
Students explored information security, network and systems engineering, project, data center, and human resources management. They also received hands-on experience in various information security methods.
“Working with Hawaiian Telcom was invaluable for our students because they engaged regularly with local cybersecurity professionals who are committed to passing on their career and industry knowledge,” program coordinator Jodie Yim said.
A senior official at Hawaiian Telcom said the partnership allowed the company to become more than just a service provider since its employees could share expertise and passion for cybersecurity with their local community.
He also emphasized that a career in cybersecurity can be “highly satisfying” because it is fast-paced and constantly evolving. “As an employer, we see the growing need for qualified professionals and have a vested interest in helping to develop them right here in Hawaii,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Kainoa Jimenez, a native Hawaiian student who finished the program in June, described the experience as “amazing” since it helped prepare him for the future.
“I’m in the process of earning my global Security+ certification and the internship showed me exactly what to pay attention to when I’m ready to pursue a cybersecurity position,” he remarked.
In addition to internships for students, Hawaiian Telcom plans to host free educational events with topics ranging from technology trends to solutions for complex business issues.