Cypress College Partners with National Guard in 22-Week Jobs ChalleNGe CTE Academy

Cypress College was awarded the 2020 National CyberWatch: Innovations in Cyber Security Education award for their work with Jobs Challenge last semester. This is the second consecutive year in a row that the Cypress College Cybersecurity Program is being honored.

The program is led by Ben Izadi and Russ Alizadeh and the Dual Enrollment team, led by Dr. Henry Hua, Stephanie Teer, and Stephanie Flores, was also involved in the effort, along with the Auto Technology program faculty. The Jobs Challenge program is a collaboration with the National Guard and Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos.

Last semester, nearly 50 students completed the California Jobs ChalleNGe, a 22-week residential career technical academy at Cypress College. The program was formed by the National Guard to provide post-secondary Career Technical Education (CTE) to graduates of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program.

The California Jobs ChalleNGe program provided CTE training and career readiness skills that will lead to gainful employment. Student participants earned industry-recognized certificates, college credits and selected between automotive technology, construction pre-apprenticeship and cybersecurity programs.

“We are so honored to have hosted this important program,” said Cypress College President Dr. JoAnna Schilling. “One of our Cybersecurity students, Noah Touchstone, broke the record on our campus earning the highest score on the CompTIA IT Fundamentals+Cybersecurity exam, and students in our automotive program also earned Cypress College certificates and achievement patches. Most important, every student participated in Career Professional Development activities to assist with potential employers. We are proud of our partnership with the National Guard and each of the students who participated in this program.”

Forty-seven students participated in the California Jobs ChalleNGe program graduation, held at the end of last semester. Program participants must be between the ages of 17 and a half and 20 years of age, have graduated from a California ChalleNGe Academy, have a high school diploma or GED, and agree to reside at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base for the duration of the program.

Cybersercurity graduates Grace Motley, Ivan Torres, Noah Touchstone, and Daniel Uscanga were sponsored by the Western Academy Support and Training Center (WASTC) to co-present with Cypress College on the cybersecurity program at the WASTC 2020 Winter ICT Educator Conference in January at CISCO’s headquarters in San Jose, California.

Four graduates of the program have already accepted internships at local companies and are continuing their studies at Cypress College in pursuit of their associate degrees.

This year’s graduates are: Robert Augustine, Leann Avila, William Barela-Irvin, Edward Barragan, Jonathon Benson, Dulce Cardona, Kiley Cardona, Victor Castaneda, Nicholas Castro, Romero Clark, Jaden Crawford, Juan Delgado, Brian Elias, Zach Fretland, Justin Fuentes, Carmen Garcia, Arriana Gonzalez, Nancy Hernandez Tovar, Maleni Hernandez, Gilberto Jaramillo, Isaiah Johnson, Chantal Lopez, Sandra Luna, Ethen Magana, Isabella Martinez, Samantha Martinez, Anthony Mcgrew, Ricardo Mendoza Torres, Wendy Montoya, Miguel Moran, Grace Motley, Ruby Nunez, Alex Olivera, Natalie Omana, Dixie Palacios, Nathaniel Peralez, Kathy Perez, Maria Ramirez, Christin Rios, Ivan Torres, Noah Touchstone, Gabriella Urquidez, Daniel Uscanga, Joana Vargas, Juana Venegas-Jeronimo, William Washington and Jimmy Zamecki.

For more information about the Jobs Challenge, visit

About Cypress College:

Cypress College offers students a pathway to their future in an environment in which employees commit to joining students on their educational journey. The college’s half-million-plus alumni include actors, athletes, doctors, executives, mechanics, nurses, and teachers. For some, Cypress College is the ticket into their university of choice, and for others, it provides essential training for a prosperous career. Just one Cypress College class is often all it takes to provide cutting-edge skills that lead to a promotion or a new job.

Cypress College’s 16,000 students and the highly qualified teaching faculty are proud of the many excellent academic and vocational programs. Cypress College offers 56 university-transfer majors, 176 career-certificate programs, and degrees in 73 areas of study. The college’s traditional semesters begin in January and August, while short-term courses start throughout the year. A Cypress College education costs $46 per unit — $138 for a typical, full-credit class — California’s lowest tuition. Financial aid and scholarships are also available to qualifying students.

Cypress College is one of three campuses in the North Orange County Community College District and a member of the 115-campus California Community College system. The college primarily serves the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Garden Grove, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and Stanton.

Located at 9200 Valley View Street in Cypress, the college is easily accessible from several Southern California freeways, including the 5, 91, 605, 22, and 405. The campus is just a stone’s-throw from Downtown Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm.