JA of NJ Leading Virtual Effort to Introduce Cybersecurity Careers to Thousands of Students

EDISON, NJ, April 1, 2021

Junior Achievement of New Jersey (JANJ) is proud to host the JA Inspire Virtual Career Expo for thousands of New Jersey’s students as the leader in creating high-impact business-education partnerships to prepare our state’s future leaders and workforce pipeline. This no-cost digital learning experience will introduce middle and high school students to in-demand careers and their pathways, for both college and non-college bound learners.

Cybercriminals are responsible for billions in losses per year. Adding to that threat is the lack of a workforce pipeline that is capable of securing networks against attackers (CSIS The Cybersecurity Workforce Gap, 2019). According to the New York Times, an estimated 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs will be available but unfilled in 2021, up from one million positions in 2014 (2019 / 2020 Official Annual Cybersecurity Jobs Report). The US Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects cybersecurity jobs will grow from 131,000 up to 171,900 (or an increase of 31%) by 2029, compared to an average growth of 4% in all occupations. As it relates to New Jersey, the New York metro area (NY-CT-NJ) has the second-largest absolute number of cybersecurity job openings (2019 / 2020 Official Annual Cybersecurity Jobs Report).

As a 100+ year old mission, JANJ is dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people for economic success, with a significant emphasis on building a qualified workforce pipeline for New Jersey in partnership with companies and schools. In the organization’s pivot to continue being an educational solution provider in today’s current learning landscape, JANJ has reimagined one of its major career readiness initiatives, the JA Inspire Virtual Career Expo, designed to expose students to the vast career opportunities available to them in the state and spark their interest in planning for their futures.

Through this virtual learning experience provided at no cost to schools and families, 10,000 7th to 12th grade students from across New Jersey will have the opportunity to explore cybersecurity, learning what it is, the careers within it, and the required educational backgrounds, all while connecting with cybersecurity professionals who share their personal career experiences.

Cybersecurity-focused webinars and virtual keynote speakers as a part of the JA Inspire Virtual Career Expo will make these critically important careers less intimidating, demonstrate the versatility and relevancy of these roles across all business sectors, and help students envision a career within cybersecurity in effort to address the workforce gap that is significantly affecting our state’s economy and beyond. “In talking with our students, we’ve heard that they feel cybersecurity is an intimidating and unachievable career. By connecting them to mentors in cybersecurity fields from the business world who explain how and what they do, it dispels this notion and instead inspires them to consider this exciting and promising career path”, said Catherine Milone, President of JA of New Jersey.

To support this significant initiative, JANJ is seeking cybersecurity-dedicated companies and professionals from all organizations to serve as industry experts who share their world of work and inspire bright futures in the Expo’s participating 7th to 12th graders.

About Junior Achievement of New Jersey (JANJ): Junior Achievement of New Jersey is an award-winning, best in class JA operation. With its headquarters and Capstone programs located in the JA Education Center, in Raritan Center, Edison, NJ, JANJ is a free educational resource dedicated to giving all young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success and plan for their futures. JA’s learning experiences primarily focus on three key areas: career readiness, financial empowerment, entrepreneurship, and life skills, and are held at the JA Education Center, in schools, on college/university campuses, in corporate facilities, and online through digital learning experiences. To learn more, visit us at www.janj.org.

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