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Ann Arbor Spark

February 23, 2017

If you haven’t been to the Pinckney Community Schools Cyber Training Institute, you’re not doing it right.

If you haven’t been to the Pinckney Community Schools Cyber Technology Institute, you’re not doing it right.

PCS CTI Grand Opening

PCS CTI Grand Opening

Within the education community, Pinckney Community Schools (PCS) has long been known for its innovative approach to teaching. PCS has one of the top robotics and mechatronics programs in the country, runs hands-on business education classes, and has been a school-of-choice in Livingston County for years due to its top-notch cyber security classes. Last year, PCS’s leadership was recognized in a major way by the State of Michigan when the school was selected as a recipient of a Merit Network grant that allowed them to fund the build-out of a Michigan Cyber Range Hub. The only other recipient of the grant was Wayne State University, making Pinckney’s Cyber Training Institute (CTI) and Sentinel Center a truly unique asset.

So why Pinckney?

Well, there are several reasons. First, PCS has had well-established cyber security programs in place for years that help its students gain recognition during national cyber security competitions, such as the national CyberPatriot competition. Second, PCS’s staff are master collaborators. Take Cyndi Millns, for example. Millns is an instructor in the cyber security department PCS, she runs a business simulation competition, and is an adjunct lecturer at Eastern Michigan University. Cyndi and her colleagues, Jim Darga and Principal Rick Todd, spent months putting together the proposal that ultimately won PCS the grant. The programming at Pinckney’s cyber range hub is made possible through a partnership with the Michigan Merit Network, the Michigan Defense Center, Pinckney Community Schools, and a number of partners in the private sector and the education community.

PCS students hard at work during the grand opening

PCS students hard at work during the grand opening

Who should get involved?

Everybody should be involved! Programs at the CTI are available to students, professionals, and local businesses. For credit high school courses are available to students enrolled in any of the Livingston County schools and in the Whitmore Lake Public Schools system. The CTI offers courses to professionals who want to gain a basic understanding of cyber security, or to people who want to gain certifications offered through nationally accredited programs like CISCO. Local business owners can use the hub to test their own cyber security systems, or they can attend events to network with students who might be interested in internships or future jobs. Take Joe Mayo, for example, who is a senior at PCS, and is thinking about a career in software development. Joe and his classmates are once again preparing to participate in the national CyberPatriot competition, where they will compete against students from all over the country.

Where can I learn more?

Visit the CTI website to learn more about current programs, and to take a look at the event schedule. Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity!