GTCF #11:- NPower - Creating Pathways to Prosperity in Tech Careers


Ron and Cyndi Gula interview Robert Vaughn and Kendra Parlock of NPower. NPower won a $300k competitive grant from the Gula Tech Foundation and has a mission to move people from poverty to the middle class through tech skills training and quality job placement. We discuss the NPower program, how IT and cybersecurity is taught to the trainees and how our listeners can get involved as guest speakers, mentors, hosting interns and hiring graduates. Kendra is the NPower Executive Director of Maryland and Robert is the Head of the National Instructors Institute at NPower and a former CISO.

Show Transcript

Ron Gula: [00:00:00] Hi there. This is Ron Gula with Cyndi Gula today, with episode 11 of the Gula Tech Cyber Fiction show. Cyndi and I are particularly excited today because we have here with us in studio Kendra Parlock and Robert Vaughn from NPower. So welcome. How are you guys doing?
Kendra Parlock: [00:00:17] Great.
Robert Vaughn: [00:00:18] Doing well, happy to be here.
Ron Gula: [00:00:20] That we're so excited now. Now NPower won a $300,000 grant from our foundation process. We're very excited. This is the first sort of in-studio interview we've been doing with our grantees. And we're gonna talk a lot about your guys' background and NPower today.
Cyndi Gula: [00:00:34] And when he says won, you guys really won. It was competitive grant. You, your submission was great. Everything about what you do impress not only us to include you in the finalist, but our advisory board picked you top three out of our 11 that we did pick and you guys got number two. So what you guys are doing is fantastic. And we really look forward to hearing more about what you can do and telling our community how we can help and get more involved.
Ron Gula: [00:01:01] So a lot of what we talk about here is origin stories. So before we get to NPower Kendra can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to work at NPower?
Kendra Parlock: [00:01:09] Sure. I born in Baltimore, raised in Detroit. I joke that I have dual citizenship.
Cyndi Gula: [00:01:16] [laughs].
Kendra Parlock: [00:01:16] Moved back to Baltimore in 2008, but so how I came to NPower or just interesting story tech is in my heart more on the science side. I grew up always wanting to work in science and did got degrees in biology and chemistry, and went to work for DuPont, [inaudible 00:01:43] here in Maryland Cabot Corporation had great global jobs, but always wanted to work close to home. Home is Baltimore, Bolton Hill neighborhood.
So physically, but also in terms of what I care about. And that led me to a role in the city of Baltimore's mayor's office where I led the mayor's office of sustainable solutions. And my role was to look at, the city's top priorities and understand problems, but also understand solutions.
And so when I got to see where things that were really working to improve community, to improve neighborhoods, to improve the city and now I get to work at NPower where I get to work deep in one of those solutions areas, which is workforce development and connecting people to opportunity, high paying jobs. So that's what got me to NPower in a nutshell [laughs].
Ron Gula: [00:02:31] And you're... That's awesome. And NPower is very IT and cybersecurity focused.
Kendra Parlock: [00:02:34] That's right.
Ron Gula: [00:02:35] But you're basically like a biochemist-
Kendra Parlock: [00:02:38] Yeah, I was-
Ron Gula: [00:02:39] ... scientist, right?
Kendra Parlock: [00:02:39] ... I was, yeah, I was biology, chemistry. I worked up a large part of my career in chemicals and then in biofuels innovation.
Ron Gula: [00:02:48] That's excellent. That's excellent. We found that it doesn't take, like once you're technical, once you've got that sort of basis, you can do many different things. So that's awesome. That's very inspiring.
Kendra Parlock: [00:02:56] That's right.
Ron Gula: [00:02:56] Robert, how did you get here today?
Robert Vaughn: [00:02:59] Wow, interesting story for me. I'm from Chicago, Illinois, born and raised. Probably around 15 years old or so I decided to make bad decisions, hang out with the wrong crowds. And my mother decided, you know what, you're gonna go live, in Oklahoma with your uncle, which was her younger brother who was in the military. So I moved to Lawton Fort in Oklahoma. What a change of scenery. We went from being able to do anything you wanted to do to watching cows, that was the highlight of my day, but it was it was a great experience. I had to go... my uncle made me go to a trade school to learn a little basics of like typing and computers. And this was in the early '90s. So internet was just coming about, a matter of fact, I think it was called prodigy was the internet I was on. Yeah, so I used to-
Ron Gula: [00:03:38] You had mail?
Robert Vaughn: [00:03:38] ... Yeah, exactly chat mail. And basically what happened for me is I thought I was going to be a father in high school as a teenager, realized I need to do some of my life, worked in a grocery store and happened to run across this gentleman who was well dressed and looked like he was the richest African-American man I've ever seen. And I asked him, what did he do for a living, and he told me he was a system engineer.
I assumed that maybe he was like some master's degree nerd guy, which is far from what I wanted to do. I had no interest in high school let alone college. And and basically he explained to me, he went to a Microsoft system engineering class, took some tech courses passed these six exams to become a system engineer. So I looked into it and decided that's what I wanted to do.
It was a better alternative than college. And I didn't see myself as being technical at the time, but it turned out to be something that just changed everything for me. So I got into IT and worked my way up and I realized how difficult it was. I didn't really wanna do IT 'cause it was over my head.
But I was coached to stick with it and basically to make a long story short, as I got certified, I realized how hard it was for other people like me who didn't have the background or who didn't have the confidence, and didn't see themselves in the picture how we needed to work together to train other people, to do exactly what I was doing. But I got a job teaching at New Horizons Microsoft office in the system engineering program.
And then they made a mistake and said, "Hey, every time you get certified in a new IT certification and you teach it and you get rated with a high score, we're gonna give you a $2,000 raise." So I have 42 certifications now. I dedicated myself to learn everything I could about Microsoft and Cisco and cybersecurity and Oracle at the time, and Lotus. And it just grew and grew from there. And so much that I started my own IT company consulting and training sold it.
And just to fast forward, I re- I realized early in 2007, I wanted to get into the IT space especially in cybersecurity and work my way up to become a the global director of information, security and risk for GMG and financial. And eventually became the Deputy CISO for Globe Life Torchmark, which are two fortune 500/700 companies. And my, my, my happen chance with NPower was I was speaking at a conference and I basically was complaining at this conference of CISOs about the talent.
Like we were competing against each other. I was giving Uber passes and all types of stuff to get people from the other side of Dallas, North Dallas, to come to the South side of Dallas, which is where we was located in Arlington, Texas area. And basically a gentleman from NPower came up and introduced themselves and said, "Hey, we are this nonprofit, we train veterans in Texas and their spouses and young adults for free, and we can provide you the talent, no cost to you."
And I was like, "Wait, no, no cost? This is lovely." we was able to hire a couple of students on an internship, just fell in love with the program, started to speak at the classes and really share with the young people what NPower was all about, but also what cyber was all about. And I was particularly interested in fact that they had a lot of young people from underserved communities, minorities, young women, et cetera.
So I wanted to be a part of really using my influence of statute to let them see themselves in the picture. And I ended up teaching the cybersecurity class. I then became the executive director for the Texas office and eventually became the I started the national the National Instructors Institute with our CEO and got that funded to really design a curriculum to protect the efficacy of what we do in all of our markets, making sure we had the same curriculum content, develop entry-level programs, intermediate programs and advance program. So that's what I do to this day.
Ron Gula: [00:07:00] Excellent.
Cyndi Gula: [00:07:01] Yeah. Yeah. We've had the pleasure of speaking to NPower in Baltimore and it is just so invigorating to talk to the students you have there because they're so incredible. They are just big sponges. They wanna learn everything, they wanna, their aspirations of where they wanna be is so encouraging to see, yeah, I wanna do this, I wanna do it all. I wanna do it all. And it's okay, that's great. Let's get you started and really where, what that feels like before you make that bigger decision and that bigger leap.
And it's so important to get them, those internships the experience, the what is it real like-
Ron Gula: [00:07:40] Absolutely.
Cyndi Gula: [00:07:40] ... in real world. So I'm-
Ron Gula: [00:07:43] Excellent.
Cyndi Gula: [00:07:43] ... really happy with what again, the program does.
Ron Gula: [00:07:45] So you're in charge of training and curriculum for all of NPower.
Robert Vaughn: [00:07:49] That's correct.
Ron Gula: [00:07:50] And you're in charge... Kendra you're in charge of the Baltimore program?
Kendra Parlock: [00:07:53] That's right.
Ron Gula: [00:07:54] So could you maybe tell us just what's the NPower organization? What's it comprised of? Where's it located?
Kendra Parlock: [00:07:59] Sure. Yes. I'm a executive director for NPower Maryland. So NPower is a national non-profit and we operate in seven regions including Canada. And so we, our mission is to launch careers in tech and we are focused on young adults, women of color and also those connected to the military. So those are veterans and veteran spouses. And so our primary program is our tech fundamentals program, where we are serving, those from under-resourced communities to launch their career in tech, through tech fundamentals.
They're working towards cert- the CompTIA certification for entry level tech support roles. We also offer advanced training in cyber security in cloud computing. And so what we do is really we're working to remove barriers remove barriers to employment. So obviously, starting with the training and certification, but also those barriers related to professional development. So connecting people with mentors, connecting with opportunity.
And then also removing barriers related to financial insecurity housing and transportation health, mental health. So we are a team of instructors of operations leaders, of recruitment managers, social support managers, all working together to remove those barriers to employment.
Ron Gula: [00:09:28] Do you recruit students or do you have to... this is gonna sound horrible, but do you have such a demand that you have to turn students away?
Kendra Parlock: [00:09:34] It varies by region, so in some regions we definitely have waiting lists. But we are recruiting and recruiting is really sharing the opportunity, again, in places where people may not be aware of the opportunity, so connecting with other nonprofits, community organizations schools, to let them know that, there, there is this path, to, a high paying career in tech. And so that, that's the fundamental piece of our recruitment. And really also a focus on, bringing more women of color to tech and cyber.
Ron Gula: [00:10:09] And that's excellent. I forgot to comment Robert, when you were basically talking about, what got you interested, you saw somebody in a nice suit.
Robert Vaughn: [00:10:15] Yeah, absolutely.
Ron Gula: [00:10:16] And I almost feel Cyndi and I would talk a lot about how cyber security we do such a bad job recruiting people. And frankly, it's not just about fighting China and protecting data. You can have an awesome career.
Robert Vaughn: [00:10:28] You can.
Ron Gula: [00:10:28] You can really be a leader. You can pay for a great career [inaudible 00:11:33] for a career. You can actually be a very satisfying, thanks. I'm glad that's part of the recruiting process and whatnot. What do you think of the curriculum? Do you think teaching certification, is it challenging? Is it setting people up for their, for the right opportunities?
Robert Vaughn: [00:10:46] Yeah. I, my background again, was creating certifications in bootcamp styles with the global knowledge and the New Horizon. So I was used to taking someone in seven days and making them Cisco network administrators. So that was the background but when I started into IT and started running companies and hiring this talent, I recognized there was a difference between getting certified and passing the test and having the talent to go into corporate America.
More importantly, me sending you out to customers and we're building them and building this relationship. And so there's a balance between the certifications and the competencies. And so what we try to do at NPower is to make sure that there's a focus on both, we recognize because our students don't have degrees we have to make sure they have some type of credentials as a way to validate their skill so that employers know they have that basic competency, but we focus on teaching them the fundamentals of how to be professionals.
We like to say professional presence, that's the soft skills, emotional intelligence, but also they understand customer service, the technical skills, what's the theory around troubleshooting. And how would you solve a problem and work with someone who may call [inaudible 00:12:52] because their system's not working or email's not working. So we really focus on trying to find a balance between the certifications and the and the actual competencies. So we don't consider them mutually exclusive.
Ron Gula: [00:11:58] What it's a non-profit, but it's not necessarily free, you have corporate sponsors, the students pay a little bit? No, no-
Kendra Parlock: [00:12:06] No [crosstalk 00:13:15].
Ron Gula: [00:12:07] ... Tell me the way.
Kendra Parlock: [00:12:08] It is completely, absolutely free.
Ron Gula: [00:12:10] Completely free.
Kendra Parlock: [00:12:11] To our trainees.
Ron Gula: [00:12:12] Excellent. Excellent.
Kendra Parlock: [00:12:12] Yes. And we're able to do that through the generosity of people like the Gulas and also corporate philanthropy government, individual giving.
Robert Vaughn: [00:12:24] So I visit all of the classes, it used to be in person, but now virtually since COVID. But I like to tell the students all the time it's free, but it's not free.
Kendra Parlock: [00:12:32] [laughs].
Robert Vaughn: [00:12:32] So it's free for you guys as far as not having to pay, but there's a lot of work. Kendra, especially being an executive director in Maryland, all of our executive directors. And we have a philanthropy department and development partners who work with Kendra, but getting out there in, in raising funds and letting people know what we're doing, it's a lot of hard work. And so what we tell students is if you don't take advantage of this opportunity, you're robbing another student who could be in your seat who really wanna do this.
So we really try to vet the students and make sure that they're motivated. We don't have any requirements so to speak as far as you have to be technical or have a, a college reading level. But what we look for is behavior and motivations and aptitude your willingness to take advantage of that opportunity so free for them, but not free at all. It's a lot of work going into it.
Ron Gula: [00:13:16] It's a responsibility-
Robert Vaughn: [00:13:17] Absolutely.
Ron Gula: [00:13:17] .. if you're going to learn how to care for people's data and protect them, it's definitely a big responsibility.
Robert Vaughn: [00:13:22] Absolutely.
Cyndi Gula: [00:13:22] Yeah. The corporate sponsorship and help that you have, how do you nurture that type of relationship and what do the companies get other than potential talent?
Robert Vaughn: [00:13:36] Yeah. We tell corporate companies all the time, there are so many ways that you can get involved with NPower. As a matter of fact, a lot of the companies who are financial donors didn't necessarily start that way. Just like me at GM financial, I found out about this talent and I just was so impressed with having an opportunity to give back to the veterans and the spouses in Texas because they don't serve young adults in that market.
Whereas in Baltimore, we do young adults and now we're working with veterans, but I just want to come in and just donate my time and just share, my experience and say, this is what it's like in real world, so to speak and what you learn in the classroom and to encourage them. And then it turns into one of those things where they wanna volunteer, they wanna bring their team in.
Hey, how can we fund this, and how can we put some money behind it, and how can we pay a scholarship or a stipend to help the students with their internship. So there's all of those various ways to get involved. So we have companies who don't give money, but they give their time. They sit on our boards advisory, help us with curriculum, help us with social support et cetera. So those are all the ways.
But I tell people all the time, it's great to be able to cut your steak, knowing that you made a difference as well. But we're also solving a problem in corporate America because the reality of it is we only have about 28% of college students majoring in STEM programs. And we have over eight million technical jobs that's happening in 20- by 2028. 2.3 million of them are we're now seeing this need to be field by none college graduates.
So we're actually solving a problem that corporate America workforce have in some aspects tied to national security, as it comes to making sure we have enough technical talent and help.
Cyndi Gula: [00:15:02] Yeah. And then as far as internships and real-world experience for the people in the class and things like, how does a company get involved in that as well?
Kendra Parlock: [00:15:11] Yeah. Yeah. So just wanted to add that, yeah, definitely at Maryland, most of our corporate relationships started with just one person, an individual who wants to make a difference, wants to connect, with someone. And then from there so we invite professionals into give tech talks to come and lecture on, what we... soft skills or what we really know are essential skills, in terms of securing a job and being successful in a job.
And then from there working towards mentorship, we have a program called NPower Match where we're matching professionals with our trainees in a well-defined, mentor mentee relationship, which I think is beautiful. 'Cause I just think of all the times when I was a a mentee or looking for a mentor and the hard part was always, how do I ask someone to be a mentor when we get together? What do we talk about?
And so we make that all easy for the professional, for the mentor and the mentee. And then from there connecting to the placement opportunities. So we our teams consist of placement professionals who are working alongside small, mid-size, large companies to, to place our alumni, place our trainees in internships full-time employment, which would include apprenticeships.
Ron Gula: [00:16:28] Can you talk about some of the potential employers or places you've got internships and apprenticeships at?
Kendra Parlock: [00:16:34] Sure. I'm really proud of the relationship that we have forged over years with Northrop Grumman. Just thinking of a one young man who came to NPower actually it was his grandmother who signed him up for NPower because he was sleeping on her couch-
Ron Gula: [00:16:52] [laughs].
Kendra Parlock: [00:16:52] ... and had just barely finished high school, but she knew he had potential. He... she signed him up, but he came with this really vast interest in tech and cyber. And since that... so he came through the program along with I think now we have 10 others who've come through the program and either been placed in internships or full-time roles and apprenticeships with Northrop Grumman.
And what is innovative about what they have done is they've connected those trainees with mentors, giving them opportunity for advanced training, in cyber placed them in cyber roles, opportunities for security clearances but also created roles and a path within the organization that allowed them to come in without degrees and to go on to higher roles.
Ron Gula: [00:17:43] Let's talk about that for a minute because there's a lot of discussion about, how important is it to have a college degree versus certifications versus two years of school. Cyber, I feel like we're making it up every day,
Kendra Parlock: [00:17:54] yes.
Ron Gula: [00:17:54] And I value degrees. I value certifications. Where do you guys see this industry going?
Robert Vaughn: [00:17:59] Yeah. For me, I got into IT because it was an alternative of going to college. And so getting the certification and then getting right into the corporate America and working and getting those skills, I thought it was super. Whereas I had friends who decided to go straight to college and a lot of them majored in computer science. And by the time they got out, I had four years of experience already and was making a lot more money and had more certifications.
And and I found that for me, that was the best alternative. Now I ended up doing, as I mentioned, 42 certifications, but along the way, what I learned is if you wanna be an engineer or, a desktop support person, a data analyst, for the most part, you don't really have to have a degree and a lot of the companies are starting to see that 'cause what people are looking at now is performance.
The truth of the matter is I went back to go get my bachelor's and then a few graduate degrees, but it was more so because it was looked upon as necessary to become an executive more than it was to be an IT professional. So when I realized I wanted to be an executive in a company, I went back to go to school. The great thing though, is by having all of the IT experience and certifications, I got so much work-life credit for what I had already done in IT that it made getting my degree a lot easier.
But I think companies are seeing the value in performance-based, the big companies out there, the Silicon Valley's now, when they interview you, they giving you real live exams and tests to make sure you can deal with situations. And so they're realizing it's not about college degree or certification, it's about being able to perform. And that's why our curriculum is based on competencies.
Ron Gula: [00:19:24] And it's so tough because we don't wanna be critical of university.
Robert Vaughn: [00:19:27] Absolutely.
Ron Gula: [00:19:27] We don't wanna be critical of certifications. Everybody's different. And this career field is so large. There's so much opportunity. It's more about getting more people in- involved.
Cyndi Gula: [00:19:35] Yeah. And I definitely think employers and the general public are understanding there's other paths.
Kendra Parlock: [00:19:42] That's right.
Cyndi Gula: [00:19:42] And the more conversation we have, those paths are opening. I really think apprenticeships and internships are becoming more acceptable, but I still think people are a little bit hesitant to, to cross that divide. How have you seen the best internship relationships with these corporate partners be successful?
Because it, again, here we're saying let's lower the restrictions on or requirements for a degree yet the industry needs to be more comfortable that the students that you're... the interns that you're putting out there have competency. So I like the idea of competencies, but how do you cross that bridge? How do you get across that divide? What's been most successful?
Kendra Parlock: [00:20:24] Yeah. What I've seen is that, organizations that... so I'd say that especially now that so many people have as a part of their vision or, their mission around corporate social responsibility is to diversify talent and bring other groups of people who've been underrepresented into the organizations, but not everyone has connected that, that vision and desire with their actual operations practices, policies and processes, and so where I've seen the best relationships, the best outcomes are where organizations have been intentional, not bringing just one trainee, but, several trainees in together and being very focused on connecting them with as an apprenticeship would involve structure, around, advanced training structure, around wage progression structure around addressing, other supports that are needed for success.
So again, connecting your vision mission with your actual policy, procedures, job descriptions, and all that and also connecting with social supports.
Robert Vaughn: [00:21:30] Yeah. And I'll piggyback off that and say one of the big pillars that we're focusing on is system change, because Cyndi, you're exactly right. What is happening is the acceptance of non-degree tech talent is really moving slow. So it's not a well accepted thing. And one of the things we wanna do is become a voice for that to say, you know what, we, again, we need to do this, and corporate America is starting to see, we need to do it and competencies is the way to do it.
But what I love about our CEO, Bertina Ceccarelli is that she recognizes the ecosystem. And so we are strategic and working with, for example, a lot of our locations is actually community colleges. We, and we work with universities and we're inside of a historical black college, for example, in St. Louis Harris-Stowe State University. We have a lot of our graduates. We have over 5,400 alumni now, and a lot of them, because they will go to the colleges.
Some of them will continue education, or some are already in college when they come to us and they see this as an opportunity to get some skills, get the work and to be able to afford college, et cetera. So we wanna build ecosystems with universities and community college where, you know, a lot of what they're learning these skills while they're working on the internships, they may decide to go back later, or there's a dual credit thing.
So we recognize it's gonna take all of us to think outside the box. I think the last thing I would say to piggyback off of Kendra, as far as the apprenticeship model, in Dallas-Fort Worth, we have a lot of great partners, but [inaudible 00:24:57] comes to mind. They're one of the bigger ones. They take about 12 to 15 students per cohort a year. And one of the things that they do is to Kendra's point is they're vested in creating a space where our trainees who don't have degrees can come in, they can learn.
They continue... will continue in education, but they also work with us because after they go through the tech fundamentals, we're committed to making sure over the next three years, we follow their wages and we create enough advance certification type training, like cyber cloud service now Salesforce, we are working on what we call a student journey where there are some more on ramps and off ramps to help them continue to come back up skill, get some education, or refer them to other nonprofits that's doing work, et cetera.
So we see it as an ecosystem, but under the the auspices of a system change, what we're communicating, whether it be policy, law, corporate America, on the need to have all of that be included in a in a way to solve the workforce gap.
Ron Gula: [00:23:38] That's excellent. Could you talk for a minute maybe this is a better question for you, Robert what's the typical skillset and skills of the graduate of the IT class and then the graduate of the cybersecurity class?
Robert Vaughn: [00:23:50] Yeah. As far as coming in it varies. And the truth is what makes it difficult for my instructors is we don't have a requirement that says again, you have to have a certain reading level of math skills, et cetera. So when we interview again, we're looking for motivation and the right attitude in, in those things to come into fruition. And then we say, okay, we're going to give you this opportunity.
But by the time you're done with the program, we have those same requisites. So again, the biggest things is you have to learn how on our take fundamentals program, how to troubleshoot, how to ask the right questions. We teach you how to that, how to work with someone again who may be frustrated, irate, needing help, how to calm them down, how to be a great active listener in order to repeat back what they're... what you think they're saying and hearing, and then give them, and then be able to have the patience to walk them through.
That's the stuff that's technical, but also the non-technical the essentials, as Kendra said, we want to make sure that they get that professional development side.
Ron Gula: [00:24:45] And it's so important for a career in It and cyber.
Robert Vaughn: [00:24:47] 'cause our students have this thing that we did, we're gonna open up a computer, put it together, they're gonna install windows or Linux, and then we are ready to go get a hundred thousand dollar job. And we have to let them know it's a lot more to it, but the hard part of technology, especially whether you talk as cyber or the entry-level, it's not the technical stuff it's those intangible things, understanding how you use technology and leverage technology to help people do their day-to-day work, to help the company solve problems and meet their goals and objectives.
We like to call it in the classroom traceability. Let's find out what you're doing and how it traces back to what matters most to the organization or particular function within an organization, et cetera, so that they understand that they're contributing to a bigger goal and can work on a team. But as far as the technical aptitude, it's more troubleshooting, installation, software, PC repair, understanding peripherals, and setting up wireless networks, et cetera.
On the cyber side, what we decided to do is not go so much with a particular vendor. So it's more, it's mostly open source code. The [inaudible 00:28:06], the [inaudible 00:28:07], how to use password penetration. So they learn how to use the hacking tools risk assessment tools that's more open source. But what we focus on with them is also understanding this and cyber is not just simply about these tools and how to hack networks, it's all about as you guys like to say, it's all about that data care, that data security.
How do you identify for each stakeholder with an organization what matters most to them, and then how do you make sure that what you do technically supports the policies of the company so they understand they have a high f- high level of that. So they can become a security operations center or SOC analysts pin tester. They can also become a data analyst or a researcher for a company, or just do your basic information, security audits and compliance type work.
Ron Gula: [00:26:27] That's excellent. When the students graduate and you call them trainees, is that-
Kendra Parlock: [00:26:32] Trainees versus 'cause we're very intentional about the language we use. We came together. So I'm a year and four months old in NPower. And at the beginning of me coming to NPower I remember sitting with our team and we were, ideating, coming up with ways to really help students trainees understand, the real value of the program and what it really is, which is day one of a career, a new career and job placement at the end. So being called a trainee really emphasizes that versus students. So it's not just class.
Ron Gula: [00:27:06] I like that. So when your trainees graduate?
Kendra Parlock: [00:27:07] Yeah [laughs].
Ron Gula: [00:27:08] I think it's great that you got partners like [City 00:29:47] Corp, some other large things. I've always thought that smaller companies who might not have invested in, a large IT staff or even a cybersecurity staff might benefit from, getting people coming from your program.
Kendra Parlock: [00:27:23] That's right.
Ron Gula: [00:27:23] So are most of the graduates going to what I would consider a larger fortune 2000 Northrop Grumman type places, or are there small ones?
Kendra Parlock: [00:27:31] No.
Ron Gula: [00:27:31] And if they're... how would they contact you to, just go to the NPower website?
Kendra Parlock: [00:27:34] Yeah. I'm thinking of just one example CyberCore Technologies Tina Kuhn CEO, and we connected with CyberCorps through [inaudible 00:30:25] and and so we were able to connect, in this industry networking, but people are reaching out to us through our website, But also through, some of the industry associations we've been connected with as well as, we're registered with the department of labor to register our apprentices.
Ron Gula: [00:28:04] That's excellent. And if anybody wants to come and speak, they should go to the website. If they wanna try to get an internship-
Cyndi Gula: [00:28:09] It's-
Ron Gula: [00:28:09] ... they should go to the website.
Cyndi Gula: [00:28:10] And what-
Ron Gula: [00:28:10] If you want to hire some people go to the website.
Cyndi Gula: [00:28:12] ... what cities are you currently in?
Robert Vaughn: [00:28:13] Yeah. We, yeah, definitely go to And a great thing is if you click on our about and go to, for example, our staff, it shows location, but if you go into staff as well, it shows you the executive directors and their entire local teams and who's over career or you can reach out directly to the executive director of, for those particular locations if you're interested in a particular region.
But so has all the information you need. And I and I would say also we have a lot of students that, they need a little bit more work than others, and some of them actually end up placed at, for example, for their internship or apprenticeship at nonprofits or small small businesses to get a little bit more handheld touch and opportunity to do it to do the work.
Yeah it's small businesses as nonprofits, midsize companies, large. We have a great coalition of workforce staff that's all involved in it.
Cyndi Gula: [00:28:58] Now, your program, you just said a lot of some trainees need more help than others. However, you had to pivot during COVID to go to remote. How was that path for you and how has that been working?
Robert Vaughn: [00:29:10] Yeah. And just to answer your last question, I wanna make sure I do that. We're in Baltimore of course and we also have a Harlem and Brooklyn offices in New York in addition to a headquarters in, in, in New York, in Brooklyn as well. We're in Northern New Jersey and also Jersey city. We're in St. Louis, Missouri, as well as Detroit, Michigan, Dallas, Texas, which is where I'm located. And then we also have San Jose, California.
And then we have a kind of a sister NPower organization throughout Canada as well. So those are our locations, so to speak.
Cyndi Gula: [00:29:38] Oh, that's great.
Robert Vaughn: [00:29:39] And I'm sorry, can you-
Cyndi Gula: [00:29:40] The COVID.
Robert Vaughn: [00:29:40] The COVID, yeah. Last March was very interested in that, we had a cohort going on and all of a sudden March came and it was like, what are we gonna do? And we shut down the instruction for one week, and that gave me an opportunity to rally our instructional staff nationally together and just say, okay, we need to become an online training organization by next week. But what we also need to do is make sure that we don't try to teach it to our students the same way we did in the classroom.
So that was a couple of things we did. We created principles. The first and foremost one was, we're gonna teach with empathy and we're gonna teach with a flexibility. So understand that this is gonna impact the students who we serve. They're probably gonna be even more impacted with COVID than the normal population, because they're already underserved community who lack access, et cetera.
So what we wanted to do is really make sure that the curriculum and the environment was conducive to learning, that we was empathetic, that what we would normally have them do live in class we gave them the flexibility. For example, we've had students who are single parents, male and female for that matter, who could not do homework until the evening when they put the kid down. And we wanted to make sure that we didn't say, oh you wasn't in class we're gonna, we're gonna kick you out the program for not showing up.
We made sure that our curriculum was very flexible, empathetic to the students that, and that our instructors was trained in what we like to call trauma informed training, to be able to work in an environment. The other things we did was we took out the fluff of our lectures and focused on a small nuggets of here's the information you have to have. And then we created this pedagogical process called the TEACH model.
Ron Gula: [00:31:11] What was that last word?
Kendra Parlock: [00:31:13] Pedagogical.
Ron Gula: [00:31:14] [laughs].
Robert Vaughn: [00:31:14] [laughs] Pedagogical. [crosstalk 00:34:15].
Cyndi Gula: [00:31:14] You can tell those of us who are not educated.
Kendra Parlock: [00:31:18] [laughs].
Robert Vaughn: [00:31:18] [laughs].
Ron Gula: [00:31:18] Yes.
Robert Vaughn: [00:31:19] So we created this pedagogical approach called the TEACH model. It is T-E-A-C-H but it's acronym. So it stands for we, we go to class Monday through Friday. So each day is a different day. There's a T day, a E day, A, a C and a H. So it's training day where we train you on what you need to know. That's the lecture traditional and then the E day is engage day. So this is where you get the work with us on what we taught you the previous day and now we engage and say, okay we're gonna walk you through it, you walk this with us.
And then the A day is the application day. Now you've got to do it yourself. So we want it to be intentional with the days we teach at information day is we work with you and engage with you and then when you got to prove what you know, and then we have a dedicated C day, which is a career day. That's when we teach those essential skills, the soft skills, professional development working on your resumes being present in the moment and understanding that you're now in a virtual environment, and we have guests come in and how you show up matters.
To Kendra's point the trainee thing, you gotta be a you... Your job starts now not when you graduate. And then lastly, the H day was home day, it's since been called health check in day, because it was a day for them, they'll just work from home, reflect on what they've learned, do independent learning modules, but also get that social support that they need, if there's barriers or the career touch that they need. So we changed our entire pedagogical approach in how we deliver the curriculum.
Ron Gula: [00:32:35] Wow. So awkward part of this, you probably have some stories of students who've oh my gosh, trainees-
Cyndi Gula: [00:32:42] Trainees.
Kendra Parlock: [00:32:42] [laughs].
Ron Gula: [00:32:42] ... who, who've graduated. Let's talk about them now.
Kendra Parlock: [00:32:45] Yeah.
Ron Gula: [00:32:46] Any good examples there that you can share?
Kendra Parlock: [00:32:49] Yes. We have 5,200 alumni.
Ron Gula: [00:32:52] [laughs].
Robert Vaughn: [00:32:52] [laughs].
Kendra Parlock: [00:32:52] We have 5,200 stories,
Ron Gula: [00:32:53] which, which one's your favorite? Who's your favorite?
Kendra Parlock: [00:32:56] Starting with some of the recent stories, again, thinking about, what we've experienced over the last year with COVID and, we, the data is in that, it COVID has really raised our awareness, around the gap, in terms of digital equity, the digital divide. And so many of our trainees come to us who we needed to provide computers, access to internet.
And so those are the stories that stick out. So over the last couple of cohorts one young woman, who had been you know, struggling to secure employment, floating from server jobs, to server job but was able to, complete our program. With some assistance we have we implemented a student success fund during COVID.
Because what we found out is that a lot of our trainees were, 200, $400 away from having to drop out of the program and not being able to get their certifications and graduate. So being able to address that need helping students do that. And then one young woman went on to cloud computing program with Elsevier, and so going from, no employment to a job where she's making over $50,000 a year is pretty amazing [laughs].
Robert Vaughn: [00:34:10] Yeah, and you know for me-
Ron Gula: [00:34:12] So for 4,999 more to go.
Kendra Parlock: [00:34:15] Yeah [laughs].
Cyndi Gula: [00:34:15] [laughs].
Robert Vaughn: [00:34:15] ... [laughs] yeah, and for me I have lots of stories just like that. And that's the power NPower. What we do it's a lot of work. Th- there's I tell Kendra all the time, like I wake up and say, wow, this is... there's a lot of work, it's hard. It could be mentally tough to be able to deliver the way we do as a footprint. But then you go to graduation, which we just had a national virtual graduation a week or so ago. And you start seeing all of these amazing people who graduated and-
Cyndi Gula: [00:34:37] [affirmative].
Robert Vaughn: [00:34:38] ... They finished their apprenticeships, or they're just now launching careers. And then you realize it just fills you with all of this energy and you're ready to do the whole thing over. But when I had a student veteran in Dallas the name is Greg and I had another student in the same class named Howard. Howard used to always be there early, like I'm talking, we start at nine o'clock in the morning and we go till 1:00 afternoon and we have a second cohort that starts at 2:00 and go to 6:00 PM.
So we normally have these part-time so people can work if they need to. And how will it be there 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning. Now at the time, I didn't know was because he was homeless and sleeping in his car. He was a veteran. I just like, wow, this kid is motivated and he really wasn't a kid. 'Cause he's, he was in his forties, but this gentleman, he... but he had this attitude, you would have never knew he was homeless other than one time I had to get there really early.
And I saw him in his car and we sat down and he opened up to me. We cried together, he finished our program. And now he's a VP of an IT consulting company. And then I'll never forget this young gentleman named Greg who is a veteran too. He came to me and said, "I don't have any background, but I wanna be CISO like you, and I wanna do it in two years." And I was like, we might wanna pump the brakes on getting there in two years," but sure enough, in two years he was a deputy CISO.
Because he said, "Just tell me what you did and tell me what I need to do and help me map it out and I'll do what I need to do." So then I realized that this access was more than just launching digital careers. What this really is let me get out of the way and just show you the way, and basically if you take advantage of the opportunity in front of you and you have that motivation, the sky's the limit.
So those are two people that stick out. But what I love most about them is they come back every year and they speak to the students and they share the triumphs, the tragedies, and all the other things they went through and say, hey guys, this is an opportunity for you to stick with it. The Gula foundation who's invested in you and NPower creating this access means nothing if you don't partner with us and take ownership of your life. So that's what it's all about for us.
Cyndi Gula: [00:36:28] Yeah. Yeah, you can't go to a graduation and not tear up.
Robert Vaughn: [00:36:31] Absolutely.
Cyndi Gula: [00:36:31] You cannot walk away from that and not feel like walking on cloud nine that even just helping one person and just seeing either the transformation or at least the energy, it's just amazing. And that's what I mean, I would encourage everybody if you have an NPower, if you have another local workforce development and 'cause you have stuff to share. They want to hear your story because the story's not clear, cyber doesn't have one story to get into cyber.
Robert Vaughn: [00:36:59] Absolutely.
Cyndi Gula: [00:37:00] My degree is in glass engineering science. So I'm closer to you on the chemical side of things, than the cyber, but I'm here and you can be too. And we just wanna make sure that those avenues are open and people are listening. And then we open the door, get out of the way.
Robert Vaughn: [00:37:15] Absolutely.
Cyndi Gula: [00:37:15] And allow them to come and forge their own path. And so that's the dialogue and the conversation, which I'm so excited and the ecosystem-
Robert Vaughn: [00:37:23] Absolutely.
Cyndi Gula: [00:37:23] ... to be able to build. And that's what we're trying to do with Gula Tech Foundation is to really highlight and amplify and show the impact that other people can have with organizations such as NPower.
Ron Gula: [00:37:35] Yeah. So let's talk a little bit about trying to attract more people to this career field. So Cyndi and I are pushing this concept of data care. We, it's really about raising awareness outside of the cybersecurity folks awareness that this is a great career field, awareness that we have personal responsibility to protect our own data. That sort of thing.
So as you engage with those less fortunate, those across the digital divide, what are some issues you've had to do to communicate them, that there's a great career in IT, there could be a great career in cybersecurity?
Cyndi Gula: [00:38:04] Yeah, that cybersecurity is not somebody else's problem. That it's personal. You have data that's online and you wanna protect like, how do you go about that?
Robert Vaughn: [00:38:13] Yeah. One of the things I do with the students we recruit, but young people in general, when I go speak is I asked them, why is it that the stuff you guys love to do the social media, all of them free, you don't have to pay for anything. And the main reason it's free is because your information, they get... for your access and this entertainment and sharing your pictures, et cetera, you're giving them information. You... they're learning your behavior. They're learning your shopping patterns and all of those things about you.
Because what companies realize is that the new currency is information and whoever owns the information or who can sell the information owns the world. And so that is, that's really what our economy, and that's really what internet and technology is. Internet of things is all about.
And so you're really giving up who you really are, your intellectual property, your identity when you enroll in some of these and some people just carelessly give it out without understanding the... that, that information or how to get it back, or what part do they own, or what part do this new organization own, and then what responsibility.
A lot of times a company now they're so smooth in that they'll send you a little opt in or opt out, but we don't read that, we don't inform consumers. And so you don't really, you just click the button yeah. I wanna go access my pitchers. Now I know-
Ron Gula: [00:39:20] Do you cover that at NPower 'cause like-
Robert Vaughn: [00:39:21] ... We do.
Ron Gula: [00:39:22] ... I often said like in high school, we learn home-ec, we learn how banking works, how credit card works, but we didn't understand how Facebook and Apple work so if you're covering that's phenomenal.
Robert Vaughn: [00:39:29] Absolutely. So part of our first part of our... we have a 23 week take fundamentals, as Kendra talked about is 16 weeks of that is the in-class instruction. Seven week minimum is the internship that then leads to either placement or apprenticeship. But within that first eight weeks is the IT fundamentals what we do to come to your IT certification. We talk about this piece in that first eight weeks.
Ron Gula: [00:39:49] [affirmative].
Robert Vaughn: [00:39:49] So the fundamentals of, you're not just thinking about being a technical professional, you gotta think about the responsibility you have to data or other people's data. And also the ethics around that and the citizenship that comes with the data. And so we like to make cyber about the, the foreign terrorist attacks from Russians and all of that, where the truth of the matter is we given away some of the stuff that hackers are trying to get.
Ron Gula: [00:40:12] Kendra, have you have to try to convince somebody to come to NPower and go into IT, go into cyber security?
Kendra Parlock: [00:40:20] So I... not convinced, I'm always thinking about, our young women, and so where they don't always see themselves, in tech and science, and thinking specifically, again, around data care, making that personal connection. That's... when I first read the, words matter when I see data and care together, I think of, the personal connection, how things, touch people.
The heart hug emoji, on, on Facebook that first comes to mind. And then that reminds me of one of our regional advisory board members, Gayle Guilford, she's a former CISO for the city of Baltimore city IT, and we all know about the the great hacking event, Baltimore city government, and she helped steer the city, through that.
But you know what the story she shared with our young women at a women of color leadership breakfast is that she, had the confidence, to stand in front of the city, stand in front of the city council to say, we need more like this could happen.
We need more. And so seeing, her step up to say, how we need to protect our data so that we can continue delivering services for the city, how she was confident and do that, sharing that with those young women, to me, is a great example of data care and how we are bringing more women to IT in cyber.
Cyndi Gula: [00:41:37] Oh yeah. We've done a lot of, I get asked quite a bit, "Cyndi, how do we get more people in cyber?" I'm like, "I don't know, I didn't start in cyber."
Kendra Parlock: [00:41:44] [laughs].
Cyndi Gula: [00:41:44] My path-
Kendra Parlock: [00:41:45] Yeah.
Cyndi Gula: [00:41:45] ... was not in cyber. I'm not a computer science engineer. I don't like to program. I, all of these things.
Kendra Parlock: [00:41:51] Yeah.
Cyndi Gula: [00:41:51] And so when I really started thinking how do we get more people in cyber, we've learned that women need to hear the why-
Kendra Parlock: [00:41:57] Yeah.
Cyndi Gula: [00:41:57] ... I wanna do something before you tell me what. And cybersecurity has been shouting what how what, and it's no wonder there's not more women saying, yeah, let me get into that. But with data care that captures the why, and then it brings that protect- protection.
Kendra Parlock: [00:42:11] [affirmative].
Cyndi Gula: [00:42:11] That's why I love cyber security because even though we're competing against other companies in cyber, and to that extent, we're all on the same side, we're all going towards the national security. It's a really great community to be in, and I wanna welcome more people, but to your point, yes, more women need to hear the why I need to do something, make it... not, we're not going against China.
Robert Vaughn: [00:42:36] Absolutely.
Cyndi Gula: [00:42:37] I'm protecting your personal, area and very personal kind of things and the answer that why, and then build on the how, what and give me more kind of thing.
Robert Vaughn: [00:42:49] Yeah. We, one of the big initiatives in part of our mission is we have what we call 40 by 22, where we wanted, we set out a few years back to say by 2022, we wanted 40% of our students to be women of color, women in general, women of color targeted specifically. At the time we made this initiative in early '18 I had one female period on my instructional staff nationally. And now 45% of our instructors are women. And particularly a lot of them are 70, over 75% of them are actually alumni who women who went through the program, launched careers and came back and said, "Hey, I want to teach."
Because you're exactly right. I think that's the great thing about the data care. I remind the young ladies who come to our cybersecurity program of how there's no way we would have won World War II without women. A lot of women came and they was the ones who created the ammunition and not only fought, but they got on the assembly line, et cetera. But for them, it was a time to step up. It was about the community. It was about the country. It was about bringing us together.
I think in the same light data care is a great way to see that. And when women see themselves they say, hey, this is about protecting my information, my family, my country, my intellectual property, et cetera. And it's not just about programming languages. It's a lot of things that make up this information security. They see themselves in that picture and going to do some great things. And I've all of my cybersecurity mentors are women's who they just, they're fabulous at what they do.
But so we know that once you get young ladies, especially and women of color involved and they see themselves in that, and they see it as acts of service that's when it resonates with them.
Ron Gula: [00:44:21] I think the cyber industry has done a really poor job of giving the general public, the basic understanding of jobs. We know in medical, we have nurses, doctors, insurance people, pharmacists, and lawyers, there's, lawyers, paralegals, there's the detectives, all that sort of... cyber we've left it up to the hoodies and the matrix hackers and whatnot.
Robert Vaughn: [00:44:38] Absolutely.
Ron Gula: [00:44:39] So hopefully this is a way to, to get that kind of stuff out there.
Cyndi Gula: [00:44:43] But now speaking of the matrix-
Kendra Parlock: [00:44:44] [laughs].
Robert Vaughn: [00:44:44] That's right.
Ron Gula: [00:44:46] So Gula Tech Cyber Fiction I'll lead with you, what's your favorite kind of science fiction? Does anything influence you, how you're recruiting the trainees? What do you like to talk about when it comes to sci-fi?
Kendra Parlock: [00:44:58] That's a fun question. That is fun. So yes, I... science fiction thinking of the Minority Report, definitely one of my favorite movies. Yes. I'm a Tom cruise fan too. But just what you know, I love, so that was the first time I was introduced to swiping, and I read somewhere that when they were, writing the script for the movie, they pulled together technologists to say, what does the world look like in 2054.
And so in that movie, you saw retina scanning, biometrics, you saw predictive analytics, using data to to forecast, there was crime in that movie, that ties to work I used to do using data to better deliver services, in, in government and solve problems. And then also the facial recognition, right and targeted ads.
And we definitely know how that is, happened through our social media profiles, but what, a lot of science fiction, is about dystopia, but what you really see also is this opportunity to use technology, to solve, big problems. And so I see right now, like we're writing the script for the future, right?
We're using technology, we're using opportunities in technology to to bridge the divide, to advance economic mobility. So yes, I see. Yes. I love that you, you call this the Gula Cyber Fiction show because yes, there is so much there that we can apply to what we do today.
Ron Gula: [00:46:27] Science fiction usually has authors and the people in bending the future, struggling with these new issues. Now, of course, in Minority Report, they're using pre cognition, right?
Kendra Parlock: [00:46:35] [affirmative].
Ron Gula: [00:46:35] Knowledge of the future to predict future crimes.
Kendra Parlock: [00:46:38] [affirmative].
Ron Gula: [00:46:38] But we talked about Facebook collecting all of our data, right?
Kendra Parlock: [00:46:41] [affirmative].
Ron Gula: [00:46:41] What if Amazon was the one distributing the COVID shots, they probably would have got it to people who needed it most, but then it's up to them to really make that decision, or what if they're sharing that? What if Facebook starts sharing data with law enforcement? And that, that's really interesting social issues and privacy issues. So I'm a big fan of science fiction for a kind of chatting away here-
Kendra Parlock: [00:47:01] [affirmative].
Ron Gula: [00:47:01] ... of things we need to talk about as a country.
Kendra Parlock: [00:47:04] Yes.
Robert Vaughn: [00:47:04] Yeah, no, I think that's spot on. And for me, there's three movies that stick out The Matrix Black Panther, which is one of my favorites. Matrix is probably my favorite movie of all time, just one. I'm still... I don't know how I feel about the other ones, but the first one.
Kendra Parlock: [00:47:18] [laughs].
Robert Vaughn: [00:47:18] And then the last one actually is I, Robot with will Smith. And I think the thing that has helped me the most when looking at those three movies is pulling these things out. I think if you look at The Matrix, it's about programmings and rules and how you can use these programs to control people and hide the truth from people. If you look at I, Robot, it's about advancing civilization with technology and making it easier, but there's a distrust of that technology when you look at it from that perspective.
And then if you look at Black Panther, it's about this advanced super technology that you can use, but there's a choice you gotta make. Are you gonna use it for good or for evil? And when you think about all three of those issues, it's precisely a map out to what we try to solve at NPower. And that is, especially when we talk about underserved communities and young people of color, women of color, et cetera, is that there's a big population who does not trust technology because they see technology as being evasive or keeping something from them or keeping them from something.
And then there's a big, there's a big population that only sees technology as evil. And what I like about those three movies is that it reminds us that technology is a choice and it could be used for good. It could be, it could solve problems and that it can it can it can change the way we work.
It's not changing who we are, but it's improving the way we live. And you have to make a choice how you want to use that technology and what type of citizen you're going to be. And so I love those three movies 'cause it makes you think about using that technology from those three perspectives.
Ron Gula: [00:48:43] Phenomenal.
Cyndi Gula: [00:48:44] That's great.
Ron Gula: [00:48:44] Yeah. All right. So let's close out. Where can people go to learn more? We already mentioned As we close out, what kind of messages do you have either for the CISOs out there who are thinking about, gee, how do I get a more diverse workforce or maybe even to a student, a young trainee who is considering a career in cybersecurity and IT?
Cyndi Gula: [00:49:03] You've missed the middle market there of all people who are currently in cyber in some level-
Ron Gula: [00:49:09] Who can volunteer and help-
Cyndi Gula: [00:49:10] ... that can help-
Ron Gula: [00:49:11] ... absolutely.
Cyndi Gula: [00:49:11] ... and volunteer.
Kendra Parlock: [00:49:12] Yes. There's so many just like as many paths are there, there are into cyber. There are paths to to connect with us, right in, but really connecting again with us, to volunteer as a professional development speaker, a tech speaker, a mentor volunteering to do mock interviews. You can even do that virtually. Volunteering to to come to one of our events, speak at an event, a graduation or an executive leadership round table.
Let's not forget, dollars. We make the training, free to those. We serve through generosity. So yes, $7,500, sponsors training through our program. $5,500 sponsors an internship $500 can make a difference in someone's life who's experiencing some hardship while going through the program. So yes, please reach out, I'm Kendra Parlock, you can find me on LinkedIn, but love to hear from your viewers and listeners.
Ron Gula: [00:50:16] Phenomenal.
Robert Vaughn: [00:50:16] Yeah. And I will just say, really, I... we're so grateful to you guys the Gula Foundation for donating the funds to us and what that, that money is gonna go to is allowing us to double the size of our cybersecurity program. When you think about our cybersecurity program, you're talking about students who are either unemployed or underemployed. When you put the two together, they're starting out at $4,000. When our cyber students on average are averaging around $80,000.
So just the fact that we're able to double with the donations you guys have given us that's $80,000 times another 50 students. So that... so I like to tell people all the time when you're flying an airplane, the first thing you do when there's the depressurization is you put your foot, you put the oxygen on yourself, then you assist someone else.
And really those type of investments, whether you come in, and you're volunteering or you're donating funds, et cetera, is you allow us to develop our students in a way that they learn how to put the oxygen on themselves, and then they can impact their own household, their own community. And the way, and we don't have a one-way as Kendra said to get involved. I really encourage people to think about the little things that you do or what we take for granted in corporate America matters to our students.
And so they can see themselves in a pitcher and you can share that knowledge not just the technical knowledge, but hey, how you navigate culture, politics, all of those things that may happen in the real world, dressing for success. When did you feel singled out or isolated and how you overcome that. All of that type of experience matters. It helps our students be more well-rounded so, yeah, for sure.
Again, I'm vice president of the National Instructors Institute. I didn't say that, but you can definitely go go to or Robert Vaughn and Google me at Robert Vaughn NPower and I'm on LinkedIn as well.
Cyndi Gula: [00:51:53] I, again, I cannot impress on how impressed I am with NPower, the organization, your trainees and I just feel honored to help double the amount of people that you serve, because it only really, all you have to do is talk to one and you're inspired forever. And so that you're doing even more is just wonderful and, just keep up the great work and hopefully other people will certainly help.
And I know your alumni are just gonna be appreciative as well and your network and the ecosystem and introductions to the other Gula Tech Foundation winners-
Robert Vaughn: [00:52:28] Absolutely.
Cyndi Gula: [00:52:28] ... Black Cybersecurity Association, Girl Security, really trying to build a bigger ecosystem so that everybody can enable and empower everybody else.
Ron Gula: [00:52:38] Awesome. Robert, Kendra, congratulations again.
Kendra Parlock: [00:52:40] Thank you.
Ron Gula: [00:52:41] You have a lot more work to do. We have a lot more work to cover before we all work in the data care industry and instead of 4,000 students... you said 45-
Kendra Parlock: [00:52:49] 5,000 students.
Ron Gula: [00:52:50] ... 5000 students, we're gonna go to 10,000.
Kendra Parlock: [00:52:51] Okay. Yes.
Robert Vaughn: [00:52:51] Absolutely.
Ron Gula: [00:52:52] Awesome. All right. Thanks for watching. This is Ron and Cyndi Gula signing off for episode 11 of the Gula Tech Cyber Fiction show.
Cyndi Gula: [00:53:01] See you later.
Kendra Parlock: [00:53:01] Bye.
Robert Vaughn: [00:53:02] Thanks guys.