Missoula College Offers Critical Cybersecurity Training for Everyone
The University of Montana is working to make sure everyone, no matter their age or place in life, is fluent in computer safety. Funded by the Montana Legislature in 2021 and housed in Missoula College, CyberMontana provides cybersecurity awareness across the state. UM Director of Strategic Communications Dave Kuntz explains.
“For many years now, we've been growing our cyber offerings and cybersecurity offerings here at the University of Montana, specifically through Missoula College, our two year entity,” Knutz said. “But beginning last year, after the 2021 legislative session, the state of Montana has made a significant investment into Missoula College to bolster the cybersecurity offerings, specifically to help raise awareness, provide training, and provide a pipeline of workforce development as a status identified upcoming cyber needs that our state needs.”
Kuntz went on to explain some of the resources UM will provide moving forward.
“Whether it is partnering with the National Guard to make sure that our guardsmen in Great Falls and Helena have the tools needed to respond to a cyber-attack, to doing camps for junior high and high school aged students, or offering short term or two year degrees in cybersecurity, the University of Montana is committed at being the hub to make sure that Montana is able to train enough cybersecurity professionals in the years ahead to meet the growing demand for government businesses and the military,” Knutz said.
According to Tom Gallagher, dean of Missoula College, the need for trained cybersecurity professionals at all levels is absolutely critical to protect Montana’s businesses and to grow our economy.
“Right now we know that there's hundreds of cybersecurity jobs opened up in Montana and across the region,” Knutz said. “Now going forward, the University Montana, through the cyber Montana platform, will be able to help take on students and folks who can change careers to be able to upskill them so they have those cybersecurity skills so they can meet those jobs that are open.”
Kuntz said they want the cybersecurity training to be as seamless as possible.
“What we want to create with these platforms is people don't have to leave their current jobs in order to upskill and get the cybersecurity training, in the same way that we offer training for some of the trades such as construction, accounting, and other things that Missoula College offers,” Knutz said. “Folks can jump online and take a look and see what fits them and their business. But we offer a range of opportunities to make sure that what we can offer best fits the needs and lifestyles of the people who are looking to take these courses.”
Kuntz said CyberMontana also offers professional development courses like coding bootcamps and customized cyber training.
“Visit the Missoula College website or you can just Google cyber Montana to learn more about the different offerings that we have,” Knutz said. “Those camps run all through the summer and through the fall. There's opportunities that range from working on Montana Cyber Range, which is a virtual resource that allows folks to practice against the cyber defenses, or just take these on demand business friendly 20-30 minute training modules that can help introduce the subject matter to folks. Go ahead and hop online to learn more.”
Kuntz also advocated for members of the community to educate themselves on password management and how to safely navigate Wi-Fi in public settings. For more information, visit cybermontana.org.