Holyoke Community College program trains disabled for cybersecurity jobs

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Aidan Burke, of Northampton, is a recent graduate of a pilot cybersecurity training program offered jointly by Holyoke Community College and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Holyoke Community College partners with the Massachusetts Rehab Commission for a pilot program that trains disabled people for cybersecurity jobs.

According to Holyoke Community College, the program is the first of its kind in Massachusetts to help people like Aidan Burke, 29, who worked in a local supermarket but is now beginning his career as a cybersecurity analyst. 

The 29-year-old Northampton resident finished an intensive cybersecurity training program for people with disabilities offered by Holyoke Community College and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.

“People with disabilities don’t necessarily get the same opportunities as others, there’s a stigma to it, and Mass Rehab is out there trying to erase that and show that we have value. That’s what I really appreciate about them, they want to get us into a position where we can be fully functioning members of society,” said Burke.

Due to the success of the pilot, MRC initiated a second program, in collaboration with Roxbury Community College and it is recruiting for a second class at HCC that will begin in February.  

“Mass Rehab has been very happy with the success of the students academically, ultimately, the goal is to get them placed in jobs, and we’re very optimistic because these students are very well prepared,” said Kermit Dunkelberg, HCC assistant vice president of Adult Basic Education and Workforce Development.

Program graduates qualify for jobs as tier 1 cybersecurity analysts, they can expect to earn between $25 and $35 an hour to start and up to $80,000 to $100,000 or more a year as they advance. 

“Together we are re-envisioning employment and people’s lives, in the wake of COVID-19, our perspective on what is possible for remote work is expanding on a daily basis, particularly how resilient and adaptive people with disabilities are,” said MRC Commissioner Toni Wolf.

For more information visit: https://www.hcc.edu/.

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