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Steve SpanoColumbia students are learning more about college and career preparation from local professionals as part of the school’s new College and Career Readiness Seminar Series.

The first presentation featured Steven Spano, president and chief operating officer of the nonprofit Center for Internet Security, who spoke to students from Introduction to Security, Criminology and Criminal Justice classes about the booming cyber security field.

Steve Spano

Steven Spano, president and COO of the nonprofit Center for Internet Security, speaking to Columbia students on April 21.

“There are 75,000 jobs in New York State in cyber security. About 30,000 of those are unfilled,” Mr. Spano said. “There’s zero percent unemployment.”

Mr. Spano, who is a retired general from the U.S. Air Force and worked at Amazon Web Services prior to his current position, also told the students to follow their interests and to try and be good people as they go through life.

“We should never lose sight of what fuels our passion,” he said.

The seminar series was created by Columbia Principal John Sawchuk and his leadership team. Other presentations this spring will focus on internships, communication skills, and jobs in science and technology.

“Our new superintendent Mr. Simons has stressed the importance of getting our kids college- and career-ready,” Mr. Sawchuk said. “He has challenged our leadership team to take every opportunity to expose our students to fields in science and technology that will capture our students’ interests and curiosity that may lead them down the path to a career.”