About The Central PA Cybersecurity 
Earn-and-Learn Ecosystem

We are a growing group of employers, education providers, and workforce agencies that have banded together to build an innovative technology career pipeline for in-school youth that includes apprenticeship opportunities following graduation. 


In April 2022, NuPaths (cofounded by Harrisburg University) was awarded a Catalyze Challenge “Ignite” grant to support the development of a Central PA Cybersecurity Earn-and-Learn Ecosystem.

The focus of this project is to build sustainable career pathways for area youth to enter a well-paying and highly in-demand technology career. The project builds on the federal and state government focus on earn-and-learn models of workforce development such as nontraditional apprenticeships.

The grant also builds upon the previous work done by the Southcentral PA Information Technology Industry Partnership (ITIP). The Southcentral PA Workforce Development Board (SCPa Works) organized this group to collaborate as an employer and business community to grow a diverse and innovative technology workforce and entrepreneurial community in the region. Through the grant, NuPaths and Harrisburg University will partner with SCPa Works and the ITIP to build a cybersecurity career pathway that leads a student from career exploration to pre-apprenticeship training and, ultimately, placement in a regionally recognized group apprenticeship program.

About The grant

NuPaths was recently awarded a $50,000 “Ignite” grant through the Catalyze Challenge. The Catalyze Challenge (www.catalyzechallenge.org) is a national grant competition designed to improve young people’s career readiness and engagement with education. It supports solutions by funding early-stage approaches that prepare students in grades 6-14 to chart and pursue their own paths to career success. The “Ignite” award is a seed grant that helps to formalize innovative ideas that transform how young people prepare for their careers. The Catalyze Challenge is supported through five sponsoring partners/programs: American Student Assistance; Arnold Ventures, Charter Schools Growth Fund, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Charles Koch Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation.

Goals & Activities

Our project focuses on supporting the creation of a “Central PA Cybersecurity Earn-and-Learn Ecosystem” focused on building a technology career pipeline for at-risk youth. This project is based on the foundations put in place by the Southcentral PA Workforce Development Board’s (SCPa Works) Information Technology Industry Partnership (ITIP).
Funding will be used to support a number of activities and outcomes including:
A regional Cybersecurity Awareness Event scheduled for January 26, 2023. This event is scheduled to coincide with International Data Privacy Week sponsored by the National Cybersecurity Alliance.
Regional Career Awareness Events: Multiple career awareness events will be planned with ITIP partners and regional technology employers as a follow-up to the kickoff event. The focus of these events will be to increase the visibility of cybersecurity careers available throughout Southcentral PA.
IT Training: NuPaths will also offer its online Information Technology Fundamentals course to 30 inner-city high school students in Lancaster, York, and Harrisburg to support the creation of pre-apprenticeship to apprenticeship workforce pipeline. Students who participate in this program will earn an industry-recognized IT credential and 2 college credits, putting them on an earn-and-learn cybersecurity career pathway following graduation from high school.
Work Experience Opportunities: We will also work with SCPa Works and ITIP partners to build additional work experience opportunities for middle and high school students that may include job shadowing, field trips, and part-time employment.
Formalization of a Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Pathway: We will work with the ITIP in the formalization of a group “earn-and-learn” apprenticeship model for cybersecurity occupations. This will help coordinate multiple individual efforts to create a registered apprenticeship model and align various educational resources to support the sustainability of the program for multiple regional employers.
Thanks To Our Partners

Catalyze Ignite Grant

The Catalyze Ignite grant will be used to design, pilot, and expand learning models that support young people in accessing economic opportunity and lifelong success. 
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