Advanced Business Learning Opens Cyber Academy & Cyber Range at Maryvale Spark Center

Trains residents to fill more than 7,000 Valley cybersecurity jobs

In partnership with the Maryvale Revitalization Corporation (MRC), Advanced Business Learning (ABL), an Arizona licensed post-secondary vocational school, has launched its second Cyber Academy and Cyber Range at The Maryvale Spark Center to provide entry-level to advanced IT and cybersecurity courses and certifications.

“ABL’s hands-on cyber skills development, training effectiveness, career-placement and mentorship model are a perfect fit for Maryvale Spark Center. The Center aims to provide career training with certifications, placement and ongoing support to graduates in a variety of fields,” said Jeff Armor, Executive Director. “ABL is all about opportunity, and so is Maryvale.”

The ABL Cyber Range is a unique offering as a participant of the North American Cyber Range Alliance NACRA, where the motto is ‘to stop a hacker you must think like one”. The ABL Cyber Range teaches ethical hacking skills, builds beginner and intermediate cybersecurity knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) in offensive tactics. “When you understand how you are being attacked, you make more effective decisions for defense,” said Craig Cocciola, Director of the Cyber Range and Academy. “In other words, know what weapons are being used against you to best protect your assets.”

There is an abundance of cyber security jobs in the Valley that need to be filled.

Hundreds of thousands of cyber-attacks occur every month against both Arizona businesses and government. You can see attacks that happen around the world in real time at www.threatmap.checkpoint.com.

Through MRC and ABL’s efforts, valley residents will be trained to acquire cyber certifications to qualify to help fill the 7,000 multi-level, cybersecurity positions currently open in Arizona. Cocciola says cyber jobs no longer require college degrees like they did in the past. “A person with a GED or high school diploma can work with the ABL Cyber Academy for a year or less to be prepared for a unique, cutting-edge job,” he said.

There are more than 200,000 cybersecurity jobs available in the U.S. and 1.9 million globally. “When ABL cyber certification graduates interview, they have something that other candidates don’t – hands-on skills at a ABL Cyber Range that is often the equivalent a year or more of experience,” said Cocciola.

ABL has dedicated itself to concerting with the Governor’s strategy of ‘Making Arizona a Center of Cyber Excellence’, and the organization’s CEO, Tom Jenkins, says that ABL graduates of the original academy in Tempe have achieved great success. Students pass their certification exams at a 90 percent rate, and their job placement rate is over 85 percent. ABL’s model is proven effective with clients like the Department of Defense and Fortune 1000 companies.

What kind of person succeeds at Maryvale’s Cyber Academy & Cyber Range?

ABL cyber training classes are diverse and are made up of youth, women, veterans, minorities, and more – people of all demographics who collaborate with each other and on-site mentors to advance their learning.

“Cyber security is not a guy’s club, it’s not a men’s industry,” said Cocciola. Fifty-five percent of ABL Cyber Academy students are women, and stories of their achievements in the field are plentiful – from a homeless woman with a special needs child that began working at Apple after a six-month course, to a single mother of three who was working at Circle K who became a voice-over IP equipment specialist that was later poached by another large tech company.

Veterans get the opportunity to continue their mission of protecting the country working in the cyber security field.  “They leave the weapons of war behind them and learn the tools of cyber war,” said Cocciola.

Overall, just about any personality type can be a fit for the cyber security field. Critical thinkers that have experience working with others in any collaborative sports or gaming setting are a good potential fit.

Where can I learn more about ABL’s Cyber Academy at Maryvale Spark Center?

The Cyber Academy & Cyber Range at Maryvale Spark Center offers cyber training courses that start weekly. You can browse courses and job role on the ABL website link below. Structured, multi-week course provide student flexibility to pick the hours and days to attend training.

With Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) grant funding, eligible individuals can earn two certifications with no out-of-pocket-costs. The grant eligibility is determined at Arizona at Work offices located around the state. 

“When MRC invited us to be a partner and have a location in Maryvale, we felt privileged and honored to contribute to the advancement of MRC’s mission to support workforce initiatives in Maryvale and beyond, while creating a safer world for everyone,” said Jenkins, who actively participates on the Governor’s Arizona Cybersecurity Team.

To learn more about the opportunities available at Maryvale Spark Center, visit www.ablcyberacademy.com or visit ABL in person at Maryvale Spark Center.


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