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First Cybersecurity Apprentice Graduate in Wyoming

LARAMIE – Sayer Hendrickson, the youngest apprentice in CyberWyoming’s Department of Labor approved Cybersecurity Technician Registered Apprenticeship, is also the first to graduate from the program.

“In cybersecurity’s ever-growing climate I am grateful to have been provided a brand new set of ‘tools under my belt’ that I’m already experiencing the benefits of,” said Sayer.

Sayer, a Casper native who entered the program in January of 2020 at 19 years old, works for CMIT Solutions.

The Cybersecurity Technician Apprenticeship encourages mastery through eight job functions. The job functions focus on developing security policies and protocols, desktop support for end users, network management and operations, server management, detection and prevention of threats, risk management, and business continuity, identifying suspicious activity on the network, and responding to cyberattacks with defensive strategies.

“Until undergoing the Cybersecurity Technician Apprenticeship, I didn’t quite have a full grasp of how important every individual aspect of this field really is. I feel prepared to excel in this space now, more than ever,” said Sayer. “I am truly honored to be the first apprentice to complete this program. It is experiences like this that make me so excited for the future generations of all those involved in the Cybersecurity world.”

Sayer benefitted from a Cybersecurity Youth Apprenticeship Initiative grant, being under 21 when he entered the program. This was used to pay for additional training toward the apprenticeship standards.

“Registered apprenticeship isn’t just for plumbing, welding, and electrical anymore. In our digitally connected age, it must include technical professions and cybersecurity,” said Laura Baker, Co-Founder of CyberWyoming, a statewide nonprofit organization based in Laramie.

CyberWyoming sponsors two Department of Labor approved Registered Apprenticeship programs: IT Specialist, for entry-level professionals, and Cybersecurity Technician, for more advanced employees. The apprenticeship training programs were developed in 2017 and 2018 and have now been adopted by other organizations nationwide.

The CyberWyoming registered apprenticeship programs are free for any employer willing to technically mentor a new professional. As a part of the program, CyberWyoming requires each apprentice to undergo soft skills training on such topics as strategic planning for tech, conflict management, and more.

“In my usual day-to-day functions at my current job, I don’t run into major cyberattack threats all too often. Getting the chance to dive deep into hypothetical cyberattacks, learning about actual attacks close to home, and developing our own preventative measures were some of the most exciting parts of my time in the apprenticeship. Our mentor Laura did a wonderful job ensuring what we learn each month is just as engaging as the last, resulting in an enjoyable learning environment that I am really going to miss having recently graduated,” said Sayer.

“Today’s technology apprentices are tomorrow’s I.T. managers,” said Baker. She went on to explain that statistically, employers benefit from an apprenticeship with increased employee engagement, better-trained employees, and higher retention levels.

Benefits to apprentices are evident from this article including additional training grants and scholarships as well as a Department of Labor certificate upon completion of the program.

“We think of apprenticeship as dual-credit for the apprentice,” said Baker. “They get to work on their industry and vendor-specific certifications while also getting credit through the apprenticeship.”

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