Watch CBS News

Mineola High School offers cybersecurity elective courses, first in New York

Long Island school district rolling out cybersecurity elective courses
Long Island school district rolling out cybersecurity elective courses 02:08

MINEOLA, N.Y. -- A Long Island school district is leading the way to help fill hundreds of thousands of desperately needed cybersecurity jobs across the U.S. 

Mineola High School is the first in New York offering cybersecurity electives to students. 

"With the dark web, there's identity theft happening and there's phishing happening," said sophomore Julia Manevitz. 

The students told CBS2 that 47 percent of American adults have had their personal information exposed by hackers. 

"That's very worrying. So I just want to be there to help people," said sophomore Michael Sanchez. 

Now they will have a head start in being part of a national solution.

"Trying to keep up with the speed of change, the pace of technology is one of our challenges as leaders of a school system," said Superintendent Michael Nagler. 

"I've had really a passion for coding and computer science and also helping people," said sophomore Devin Steiner. 

"At a time when it is needed the most. Estimates are that there are 700,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions in the United States alone," said Michael Balboni, a cybersecurity expert with Redland Strategies. 

Soon, Balboni said the students could fill jobs that include the ethics of cybersecurity, and psychology of how and why people hack. 

Teachers are energized. 

"Learn more about what they hear on the news, but to be able to do something about it," said Kuri Difede, a computer science teacher at Mineola High School. 

"I'm getting my masters right now in cybersecurity at NYU. The more I'm in this degree, the more applicable I see the course that we're doing at Mineola," said Victoria Berkowitz, another computer science teacher. 

The high school has set up a panel of cybersecurity professionals, from business owners to government officials, to help advise and mentor the students. 

"That allows us to make those tried and true connections with real industries and the workforce and then have those internship opportunities for our learners," said Principal Nicole Culella. 

Students hope to prevent immeasurable losses for victims of cyber crimes. 

"It can happen to anyone, whether you're 90 or even 12," said freshman Matt Chen. 

The students want to put a hex on the dark web and outsmart phishers and hackers. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.