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SIUE East St. Louis Center helps adults plan for a career in cybersecurity

Edmond Brown of Edwardsville hopes to one-day land one of the reportedly 209,000 cybersecurity jobs in the U.S., with the help of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Center’s new Midwest Cybersecurity Apprenticeship program.

“The SIUE East St. Louis Center, in partnership with the Metro East IT Diversity Work Group, is working in collaboration with the Midwest Cyber Center and the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) to recruit non-traditional students to enter the rewarding and high-paying field of instructional technology,” said Johanna Wharton, director of Workforce Development and Strategic Partnerships at the ESLC.

“The apprenticeship for cybersecurity analyst program is an opportunity for adults to earn while they learn,” Wharton added.

Several adults attended the ESLC’s May 25 orientation that explained trends in cyber security, the apprenticeship program benefits and requirements, and internship and career opportunities.

“I want my daughters to take advantage of education and career opportunities in life,” said Brown, after the orientation. “I feel the best way for me to do that is to show them by my actions.” Brown is a chemical specialist in the Army Reserves and works for a local uniform company.
“But I’ve always had an interest in programming and IT,” said the 35-year-old. “I’ve decided that I want a change in life, and I want to do some things different.”

Twenty-two-year-old Kelsey Dent of Collinsville was also motivated after the orientation.

“I’m headed to SLATE tomorrow to take the test,” Dent said, dressed in his Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers uniform and cap. “I have a six-month-

old son, and I want to make sure I can provide well for him. I’m doing pretty good now, but I can always do better.”
“This apprenticeship program is part of a broader effort at the SIUE East St. Louis Center to connect local talent to career opportunities that are in high demand and pay well,” said ESLC Executive Director Jesse Dixon. “We are grateful for all of the partners involved, especially the Midwest Cyber Center, for including our community in such an innovative and life-changing opportunity.

“Regionally, there are lots of jobs in cybersecurity right now – our goal is to prepare and connect as many of our students and families to those careers as possible,” Dixon added.

Some of the program benefits and requirements include:
• Earn $15 an hour and job experience from day one and $24 an hour by the end of the program
• Open to adults with no prior IT-related experience
• Eighteen-month program includes paid on-the-job learning as well as online coursework
• GED/high school diploma required
• Must be at least 18 years old
• Must pass a background check

For more information about the apprenticeship program, contact Wharton at (618) 482-8304 or

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