West Michigan Center for Art + Technology’s new cybersecurity training is creating career pathways and economic growth

Photo credit: West Michigan Center for Art + Technology

The West Michigan Center for Art + Technology (WMCAT), a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grantee in Grand Rapids, Mich., has launched a training program that creates a pathway into cybersecurity jobs for adults living in Kent County. This seven-month program provides support for underemployed and unemployed adults to acquire four certifications and placement in jobs post-completion, leading to salaries of over $100,000 in a rapidly growing field. WKKF support for the program is designed to specifically reach people of color living in our Grand Rapids Neighborhoods of Focus, 17 census tracts in the west and southwest areas of the city where children are nearly three times more likely to live in poverty. 

The program’s goal is to assist those below the ALICE threshold, which measures someone’s level of economic stability. People in the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, or ALICE population, are people with jobs that pay so little they still struggle to make ends meet. WMCAT’s program aims to make the many economic opportunities in tech available to those traditionally unable to pursue the necessary accreditation and training.

This unique program is held in a virtual environment. It also aligns with WMCAT’s best practice model, including free tuition, access to a stipend, on-site emergency support and opportunities to establish relationships with experts from the cybersecurity industry. 

WMACT was recently awarded a $150,000 Google grant to support the launch of the program and its commitment to connecting community members to career pathways, diversifying the tech industry and supporting regional growth to ensure all children, families and communities can thrive.

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