Thomas Nelson Workforce Development held its first Future IT/Leadership Internship Luncheon. The Luncheon celebrated its pilot internship program, which is supported by a grant from the Business Higher Education Forum (BHEF).
The eight-week IT/Cyber Leadership Internship pilot program partnered with the Commonwealth STEM Industry Internship Program, (CSIIP) to recruit seven interns from Thomas Nelson, Tidewater Community College, Howard University, George Mason University and The College of William & Mary.
Thomas Nelson worked with area businesses and localities to place students at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, in the Information Technology division and the Engineering and Design division; the City of Hampton, with an IT Security Analyst, the City of Newport News, with the IT Security Administrator; and at Thomas Nelson, with the Information Technology department.
Colonel Jason Sutton, Director of the Communications for Air Combat Command Headquarters, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, served as the celebrations keynote speaker, and quickly reminded the interns and those working in the various IT divisions of the importance of their work.
“I'm a CIO for a major command in the Air Force. We are here to hunt down and destroy enemies of the United States,” stated Sutton. “The threat is real and what you know of is probably just child’s play. The minute you think you have it figured out someone has already found a way around it.”
Sutton reminded everyone about the importance of understanding and serving your organizations mission and purpose.
“You are serving in an organization that has a purpose. If you don't fulfill that purpose you are useless to the organization,” stated Sutton who also took the time to speak with interns individually following the event. “You have to know the mission of your organization and bring your passion to that mission.”
In addition to their internships, students had an opportunity to enroll in a Legal Topics in Network Security class. The three-credit online course taught by Stephen Foster, Program Director of Cyber Security for Workforce Development and Adjunct Professor for credit cyber security programs, provided students with supplemental knowledge that complemented their internship. Students will also be able to transfer Thomas Nelson credits to their current school.
“The biggest thing that surprised me about the internship was having to take a class,” stated Camille Headrick, a Thomas Nelson student who interned with Newport News Shipbuilding. “The legal information was informative and enlightening on both the federal, state and local level.”
As part of the BHEF partnership, Foster will have an opportunity to further build the Thomas Nelson and BHEF network while impacting the Hampton Roads community through the Cyber Security conference, which will be held Friday, Oct. 7 at the Peninsula Workforce Development Center.
“This is the cyber culture mindset,” stated Foster. “All of you working together is what makes cyber security work.”