- Associated Press - Saturday, September 30, 2017

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A business innovation center in downtown Las Vegas hosted a training program that aimed to teach cybersecurity skills to people who are homeless.

The business incubator RedFlint partnered with a workforce development program last week to offer training in a field that’s experiencing a workforce shortage, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported (https://bit.ly/2yOen0S ).

Hero School Initiatives has offered training and education events for the homeless population for about 22 years. But this year the organization worked with the Las Vegas-based RedFlint, which is owned by the University of Phoenix, to offer a more hands-on training for a modern skill.

Dennis Bonilla, the university’s executive dean for the College of Information Systems and Technology, said that the program offered people in the homeless community a place learn the foundational cybersecurity skills that could help launch a career path.

“We’re seeing a workforce shortage in high demand industries like cybersecurity with 40,000 jobs going unfulfilled each year. This is extremely important for Nevada, which ranks fifth in the country as the most vulnerable state for cybersecurity breaches,” Bonilla said. “To effectively fill this job gap, we need to educate and train more than just college students and skilled workers.”

Venson Pace, 41, has been living on the streets for the past year. He said the Hero School events have been helpful in the past, and he was planning on attending the cybersecurity training because he has an interest in tech.

Pace and about 25 others attended a question-and-answer session with business leaders on Monday.

Also present was Debbie Banko, CEO of Las Vegas-based Link Technologies, an information technology consulting firm.

“I don’t think it matters what somebody’s past is,” Banko said. “As long as they’re certified and trained up and can clear a background check, I certainly wouldn’t discriminate because they were homeless.”

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Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, https://www.lvrj.com

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