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Cybersecurity jobs are among the fastest-growing career areas in the nation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Information Security Analyst’s Outlook predicts cybersecurity jobs will grow 31% through 2029, more than seven times faster than the national average job growth of 4%.

To help meet this growing demand in Hawaiʻi, Hawaiian Telcom partnered with Windward Community College to support its ʻAo Kahi Internship Program, a Native Hawaiian Career and Technical Education project sponsored by ALU LIKE, Inc. and funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Through a six-week paid internship, eight students of Native Hawaiian ancestry experienced hands-on learning of “red team” (offensive) and “blue team” (defensive) information security tactics and explored aspects of network engineering, information security engineering, systems engineering and data center management, project management and human management with Hawaiian Telcom’s Managed Services team.

Kainoa Jimenez
Kainoa Jimenez

“The internship with Hawaiian Telcom was an amazing opportunity,” said Kainoa Jimenez who completed his internship in June. “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.”

The internship’s primary goal was to broaden students’ understanding of information security and outline how expansive the work opportunities are, especially for entry-level positions.

“It was important to us that our students come away with well-rounded insights about different aspects of cybersecurity and pathways to success as they think about potential careers,” said Jodie Yim, coordinator for the ʻAo Kahi program. “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.”

In addition to the ʻAo Kahi internship program, Hawaiian Telcom’s Managed Services team supports local cybersecurity education by volunteering to work with students through CyberPatriot, the National Youth Cyber Education Program offered by the Air Force Association—Hawaiʻi chapter, and hosting free, educational Hawaiian Telcom University events with topics ranging from technology trends to solutions for complex business issues.

“Connecting with students through ʻAo Kahi gave us the opportunity to be more than a service provider—it gave us the chance to leverage our expertise and passion for our careers in service to our local community,” said Jordan Silva, senior manager—service delivery for Hawaiian Telcom | CBTS Hawaii. “A career in cybersecurity can be highly satisfying as it’s fast-paced and constantly evolving, and there are many routes you can take. As an employer, we see the growing need for qualified professionals and have a vested interest in helping to develop them right here in Hawaiʻi.”

The next ʻAo Kahi Internship cybersecurity cohort starts in January for spring 2022. Applications will be available in November. For questions about the ʻAo Kahi Internship Program, contact Yim at wccCyber@hawaii.edu.

Ross Ledda, Elizabeth Ashley Freitas, Lindsey Freitas, and Channon Wong
Interns Ross Ledda, Elizabeth Ashley Freitas, Lindsey Freitas, and Channon Wong