Jasmine Jackson knew the freight-forwarding company she worked at was in trouble. That didn’t make losing her job any easier when the business shut down in January 2022. But it did provide an opportunity.
“Change can be terrifying, especially when you have children, bills, and responsibilities,” Jackson said. “But it was time.”
Jackson, 31 of Elyria, had already signed up for classes at Lorain County Community College, in search of a career where she could increase her income and work remotely. After some research, she focused her coursework on an Associate of Applied Science in Cyber and Information Security.
“I decided to dive into the tech field because it’s ever changing, always growing, and in need of people,” Jackson said.
She’s right. The cyber security industry is evolving alongside rapid technological developments, generating jobs at a faster pace than the national average. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections put job growth at 40% or more over the next decade.
While Jackson aimed for a post-graduation job, the pathway’s built-in Earn and Learn format, which requires students to split their time between coursework and industry-specific employment, had her back to work quicker than she expected. Shalamar Lawrence, career development specialist at LCCC, met with Jackson to discuss the process and its potential.
“Work-based learning is like a long interview where you could potentially receive a job offer from the employer,” Lawrence said. “It’s important for students to engage with Career Services early during their program of study to identify these opportunities and prepare.”
Lawrence helped Jackson polish her resume and practice her interviewing skills. And in May 2022, Jackson began a paid internship at MCPc, a global software security and device company. As a Secure Operations Center Analyst Intern, Jackson monitors alerts from client networks and follows procedures for troubleshooting and escalation.
“I’m gaining on-the-job experience and earning money,” Jackson said. “It’s so valuable and has helped me get the most out of my degree.”
The effective earn and learn format is built into many of LCCC’s career pathways, but in the Jackson household Cyber and Information Security has been the way to go. Jackson’s partner, Brian Hellinger, is also enrolled in the program.
“We both wanted new careers that allowed us to build the life that we have dreamed of,” she said. “And with the low cost of LCCC to get your degree, and utilizing all that they offer, anyone can end up with a great lifelong career.”