CyberWyoming Receives Apprenticeship Grant Champion Award

Photo of Wyoming Department of Workforce Service Director Robin Cooley, DigeTekS CEO Shane Brown, and CyberWyoming co-founder Patrick Wolfinbarger accepting the award.

On April 19, CyberWyoming received the prestigious Wyoming Department of Workforce Services Apprenticeship Grant Champion Award at the 2023 Safety and Workforce Summit. This award recognizes CyberWyoming’s pioneering efforts in creating a comprehensive technology apprenticeship program and their ongoing commitment to providing quality education and training to Wyoming’s workforce.

The award was accepted by Patrick Wolfinbarger, co-founder of CyberWyoming and Shane Brown, representing DigeTekS LLC as an employer in CyberWyoming’s program.

“We are very thankful that the state of Wyoming has an apprenticeship program through CyberWyoming.  Laura [Baker, co-founder of CyberWyoming and administrator of the apprenticeship program] has helped us in many ways that we didn’t think was possible.  The syllabus for the training goals through CyberWyoming has been a game changer for us, we are able to accurately track our apprentice competencies and have a better understanding of our apprentice learning capabilities and areas of improvement,” said Linh Le of DigeTekS LLC and mentor to the apprentices.

CyberWyoming has been at the forefront of technology education since 2019 when it became the first organization in the region to develop a technology apprenticeship program. In collaboration with the State Office of Apprenticeship and the U.S. Department of Labor, CyberWyoming designed two apprenticeship curricula catering to different skill levels: the entry-level IT Specialist program and the more advanced Cybersecurity Technician program.

“We felt that a technical apprenticeship program was needed to better serve our members, who are tech companies.  Plus, we are generating demand for tech services through Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Competition for Small Business, and we need to create that wave of education to support our small businesses,” said Laura Baker, Executive Director and Co-Founder of CyberWyoming.

In addition to providing technical skills training, CyberWyoming’s apprenticeship program also equips participants with essential soft skills, including conflict management, project management, accounting statements, budgeting, policy development, organizational culture, and other managerial abilities. This holistic approach to education ensures that apprentices are well-rounded professionals, ready to excel in their careers and contribute to the growth of the technology industry in Wyoming.

“Having exposure to more than just raw cybersecurity helps to create a well-rounded employee.  This is a strong point of this training.  The soft skills provided by this program is fantastic,” said Steve Hendrickson of CMIT Solutions, another employer in CyberWyoming’s apprenticeship program.

Employers in the program give it high marks. In the 2023 employer survey, Wyoming businesses participating in the apprenticeship program rated the CyberWyoming-sponsored initiative an impressive 4.9 out of 5 for the effectiveness of training their employees. 

Baker noted that registered apprenticeship is free to any employer and, in fact, has grant benefits for many employers to offset hiring costs, flexible to employers’ training needs, and increases retention rates of employees.  “Employee engagement is the key to keeping apprentices around and when employers assign a technical mentor, but CyberWyoming becomes that soft skills training mentor, the employee engagement can only increase,” said Baker. “We are honored to receive the Apprenticeship Grant Champion Award and grateful for the recognition of our efforts in building a strong technology workforce in Wyoming,” said Wolfinbarger. “Our commitment to providing top-quality education and training will continue to drive our mission of fostering economic growth and enhancing the technology ecosystem in our state.”

Caption: From left to right – Wyoming Department of Workforce Service Director Robin Cooley, DigeTekS CEO Shane Brown, and CyberWyoming co-founder Patrick Wolfinbarger.

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