Sweetwater Union High School District, NFINIT Begins Tech Internships


Sweetwater Union School District offices in Chula Vista. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Sweetwater Union High School District on Tuesday announced a partnership with NFINIT, a San Diego-based technology company, to launch a new paid internship program for local students.

With the NFINIT San Diego Data Center as the student classroom, the program aims to equip each student with skills in cybersecurity, cloud, network engineering, and data science during the six-month internship.

The program began a test in June with two interns: Arvie Cabal and John Paul Minimo, alumni of Sweetwater High School who now attend San Diego State University.

After providing interns with an overview of IT-related career choices, the program allows students to choose an area of ​​interest to focus on. While Cabal worked on the development of a “honeypot” – a controlled environment created to lure cyber attackers as part of the constant checking for security holes in a data center – Minimo chose to build a server that allows NFINIT to perform speed tests within its network.

Cabal and Minimo also learned the ins and outs of running a network operations center, including virtual server deployment, remote manual tasks, creating and resolving customer trouble tickets, building of cables and fiber cabling.

“By combining computer training with hands-on training in growing technological fields, we are giving underserved students endless opportunities,” said Art Lopez, professor of computer science for the Sweetwater District. “When it comes to IT and technology, far too few women and people of color are represented, and we are working to change that.”

“Sweetwater students have access to many internship opportunities, but this is the first of its kind in IT, with a focus on underserved populations,” Lopez added.

Eleven years ago, Lopez and other district leaders, working with the San Diego Supercomputer Center and UC San Diego CREATE, started a computer science program at Sweetwater, which has expanded to 65 courses in the whole district.

“While we serve global clients at NFINIT, we strive to give back to our local community, and we are in a unique position to do so,” said Denis Savage, vice president of operations at NFINIT, who manages the program. with Phil Kenney, CEO of NFINIT. “I can’t think of a better way to do this than by offering the students of Sweetwater the opportunity to strengthen their STEM education in a hands-on setting, learning skills that will enable them and their communities to thrive. empowerment for years to come. “

According to Code.org, only about 22% of US high school computer advanced placement exam participants are women, and 13% of students from marginalized racial and ethnic groups. As diversity in IT continues to be lacking, IT and information technology jobs are expected to increase by 11% between 2019 and 2029, with a median annual salary of $ 88,240, reports ComputerScience.org.

“It is at the heart of our promise to students at Sweetwater that we will provide equitable access to opportunities that will help them be successful,” said Ana Maria Alvarez, deputy district superintendent. “To that end, the careers that fuel the digital economy are the future. “

“We have seen throughout the pandemic the incredible relevance and necessity of internet connectivity and data security,” she said. “By teaching Sweetwater students applicable and marketable skills using a world-class data center located in their community, we are empowering their future. “

NFINIT will welcome at least two more interns in June 2022. The launch of the application process is scheduled for April.

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