One of the primary goals of Foster Warriors is to make our program relevant and accessible to all in foster care, regardless of career interest, skills, education, or ability to learn.
Understanding that only a small percentage of the foster kids and youth we’ll reach might be interested in a cybersecurity career, or be able to pursue one, we still want to be able to use cybersecurity as way to help our students in any career path they choose.
Step 1 – Cybersecurity Basics
This first step will introduce students to discussions about why we need security and privacy in the first place, to the worlds of cybersecurity and cybercrime, and to some of the more common concepts they’ll encounter. It will also address the opportunities for a career in cybersecurity, what it might look like, and the many paths and options to get there.
This introduction include an introduction to personal identity theft, a crime that’s very common in the foster community and which can create a major hurdle for young foster adults as they apply for credit for the first time.
Step 2 – Personal Security Basics
This part of the program will focus on teaching the students about basic personal security habits and personal security awareness – understanding malware, how to protect their devices, protect against identity theft, good passwords habits, staying safe online, spotting a scam, phishing, where to get free security tools etc.
Step 3 – Workplace Security Basics
At this stage we’ll move on to more formal but still very basic training - having the students go through the same basic security awareness training course that any employee would go through for the first time.
This will introduce the students to how security works in a typical workplace, and the role all employees play in preventing security breaches and privacy failures. This will still be non-technical, designed for every user to be able to understand regardless of skill level.
This might be another first - the first group of students to receive comprehensive workplace security awareness training before even entering their first workplace.
Step 4 – Personal Development Skills Using Cybersecurity
To help bolster their confidence, speaking, and presentation skills, we plan to arrange community and school presentations where our students will teach others - stand up in front of an audience and share what they've learned about security.
This will have the added benefit of helping bolster their confidence, public speaking, presentation, and leadership skills. We might also have them lead a security tour of local high schools to raise teen awareness more broadly.
Our plan includes teaching the students how to create and run a presentation (maybe their first use of PowerPoint), how to dress and present themselves, speak to an audience, answer questions, and engage professionally with strangers.
High school students will speak in front of their classes and parents, as well as teach foster families about cyber and identity risks.
Older and emancipated youth will present at local business groups and Chambers of Commerce. This will not only help these students get more comfortable speaking to potential employers, it might also introduce some of these students to their future employers.
Step 5 – Cybersecurity As A Career
This will introduce the students to the next and ultimate phase of the program - discussions about the types of job and career opportunities that exist in cybersecurity, how to select the most suitable career path, what skills and studies they'll need, and where to start. This might also include careers days and company visits.
To add a real twist, and probably for the first time ever, our students will also learn about data ethics and its role in security - how treating personal data like it's your own is key to good security and an ethical workplace.
More Advanced Training
We've partnered with Cybrary, who have offered to create a curated online training portal where our more advanced students can prepare for an entry level security certification like Comptia Security+.