December 6, 2017

AVBOT luncheon focuses on local educators

Diane Betzler
staff writer

Antelope Valley educators talked to the AV business community and state representatives about the need for stepping up the educational plan for aerospace and manufacturing job needs. Pictured from left: James Stockdale, coordinator for the Digital Design and Engineering Academy, Knight High School; Dr. Maria Clinton, professor of aeronautics at Antelope Valley College; and Leonard Moreno, instructor of information technology for the AV Union High School District.

Antelope Valley business leaders and local government representatives attended November’s Antelope Valley Board of Trade’s business briefing luncheon to learn how local educators plan on battling the constant threat hackers pose to cyber security.

Anna Lee Buehn, executive director of the AVBOT welcomed guests and introduced speakers at the luncheon held at the J.P. Eliopulos Hellenic Center, Nov. 28.

Speakers at the luncheon were Dr. Maria Clinton, professor of aeronautics at Antelope Valley College, Leonard Moreno, instructor of Information Technology for the AV Union High School District, and James Stockdale, coordinator for the Digital Design and Engineering Academy at Knight High School.

The event’s speakers acknowledged that the Antelope Valley hasn’t yet become a target for hackers, but as a result of the community’s growth and the fact that the AV is becoming known as the aerospace capitol of the world, all three speakers are concerned that it’s not a question of if the AV comes under a cyber-attack, but say the concern is more about when we are targeted here.

The valley’s growth is Stockdale’s big concern. He says it’s important for the school districts to keep up with the demand and offer students the education and skills needed to keep up with today’s technology.

Stockdale said educators need to get students to work with composites because of the strong need in the aerospace field. He said educators need to ramp up their programs and teach kids to engage at different levels.

“Students need hands on experience to learn how to work complicated carbon projects, aerospace engineering composite projects and at the first level they need to learn the terminology that goes with it all,” he said.

Stockdale said educators need to create a range of skills for students and prepare them for entering college.

Professor Clinton agrees that a better education plan is needed at the high school level; she says students need to get basic skills and eye coordination down before entering the college level. She says the college will take it from there and will teach students to build on those entry level skills.

Clinton said the Antelope Valley College has been offering aeronautical programs since 1986, and by 2003 the college started teaching the Aircraft Fabrication & Assembly Technician program. She said 92 percent of the students who complete the programs are placed in jobs. She said between the three aerospace giants here and the many other aviation and manufacturing companies that have since located in this valley, the need for advanced manufacturing and advanced technology has grown.

Clinton says it’s important that the schools educate the kids for the aerospace workforce. She said the industry is going to need about 6,000 workers to fill maintenance crews and suggests educators form a partnership with industry to address the need.

Moreno believes it’s important for students to be educated about cyber security so that they can recognize a breech in the system and learn to combat the problem.

Moreno says cyber-attacks are a big concern, he said we don’t hear much about them because no one is doing anything about them. He says the best way to fight cyber-attacks is through education and spreading the word. Moreno is starting a cyber security program at AVC, he said no matter where you’re at, you need cyber security and says security education needs to begin at the high school level.

“It’s important to teach student ethics because they can take cyber security classes and go to the good side or to the dark side,” he said.

All three speakers agreed the key is for educators to partner with industry, they believe working together the problems can be solved.

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