cybersecurity class

An inaugural free cybersecurity workshop for Native Hawaiian students to prepare for a certification exam launched at Windward Community College. In partnership with the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)² Hawaii Chapter, Windward CC offered the seven-hour, hands-on opportunity to learn strategies, techniques and tips from cybersecurity professionals to pass the Security+ certification exam. The program aims to meet Hawaiʻi’s workforce demand for information security and skills aligned with the latest technology trends.

“(ISC)² professionals mentoring our students was definitely a successful partnership for preparing the future workforce of Hawaiʻi to keep our community and nation safe,” said Jodie Yim, coordinator for the college’s ʻAo Kahi program. “Plus, ʻAo Kahi offers free cybersecurity classes and covers exam fees, study materials and workshops for Native Hawaiian students to earn professional cybersecurity certifications beyond the classroom.”

Completing four cybersecurity classes at Windward CC earns a certificate of competence in information security. Professional certifications, such as Security+, offer entry-level information security specialists access to intermediate-level cybersecurity jobs and higher salaries.

The ʻAo Kahi program engages students with career readiness, serves as a Native Hawaiian Career and Technical Education project sponsored by ALU LIKE, Inc., and is funded by a U.S. Department of Education grant.

Students enrolled with ʻAo Kahi are registered as (ISC)² student members. As members, they engage in monthly meetings with the (ISC)² Hawaii Chapter and have access to (ISC)² benefits, including free immersive courses to expand skills and networking with the largest global association of expert cybersecurity professionals.

“The world of cybersecurity is immense and can often feel overwhelming, but professional mentors help define a clear path forward for those just getting started,” said Nick Stankiewicz, (ISC)² Hawaii Chapter collegiate liaison and systems engineer for a defensive cyber operations project.

Stankiewicz said his role is to engage with aspiring cybersecurity professionals, educate them and give them that nudge in the right direction.

“It was a great opportunity to review topics and talk with fellow students in person,” said workshop attendee Channon Wong. “Nick has an amazing wealth of knowledge that we barely tapped into. The resources he showed us will definitely make studying for the exam a lot easier for me. I look forward to meeting more awesome people from (ISC)² Hawaii Chapter.”

Three Windward CC cybersecurity students recently earned their Security+ certification, and more than 12 students are preparing for professional industry certification exams in Network+ and Security+.

The next ʻAo Kahi internship cybersecurity cohort starts in January 2022. Applications will be available in November. For questions about ʻAo Kahi, contact Yim at

Workshop participants, from left, Justus Lani, Sean Chun, Robyn Morita, Channon Wong, Mat Igarashi