16:05 PM

Mohawk receives grants for online accessibility, cybersecurity training for high school, college students

Canadian Internet Registration Authority funding supports new college programs aimed at increasing online skills for young people

Mohawk College will develop a series of new community-focused courses for high school and college students, providing training in cybersecurity awareness and website accessibility, as part of a nationwide announcement by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) today.

Funded in part by two grants from CIRA’s Community Investment Program, Mohawk will develop five training courses for high school students, college students and Indigenous students at Six Nations Polytechnic. Once completed, the resulting courses will be publicly available and hosted on the Mohawk College website.

“We rely on online content more than ever these days. It is critical that people with accessibility challenges can remain engaged in our online world, and it is also important that people can identify and avoid cyber threats,” says Mohawk College Chief Operating Officer Paul Armstrong. “We are grateful for the support of the CIRA Community Investment Program as Mohawk College helps to create a safer and more accessible online experience for students, businesses and the community.”

The Cybersecurity Safety, Strategies and Awareness Training project will involve three courses to provide students with the ability to identify and avoid cyber threats to create a safer internet experience. According to CIRA data, only 54 per cent of small businesses in Canada provide cybersecurity training. This project will proactively train future employees and business owners to improve their understanding of cybersecurity strategies at a formative time in their careers.

The Websites for All - Accessibility Skills Training Modules for Students project, developed in collaboration with CMS Web Solutions, will consist of two courses, aimed at teaching students what constitutes web accessibility and how to ensure websites are accessible for all Canadians. The 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability reported that more than 6 million Canadians, aged 15+, identify as having a disability – it is expected actual numbers are higher. The courses will teach accessibility design and audit skills to students, who may become web and technology developers and business decision makers.

“Canadians need an accessible internet. They also need trust in the internet now more than ever,” says Byron Holland, CIRA’s president and CEO. “CIRA is proud to be funding two projects with Mohawk College that will equip young people with the digital skills they need to contribute to an accessible and secure Canadian internet.

As part of a nationwide funding announcement by CIRA, Mohawk’s cybersecurity project has received a grant of $69,329, and a $85,919 grant was awarded to the online accessibility project. In total, CIRA announced $1.25 million in support for innovative community internet projects to build a resilient, trusted and secure internet for all Canadians.