The National Security Agency (NSA) has named Forsyth Tech a Cybersecurity Regional Resource Center. The NSA awarded this distinction to six community colleges across the country whose cybersecurity programs have already been designated as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) by the NSA. Forsyth Tech’s center will cover the southeast region, which includes North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Puerto Rico.
As a regional resource center, Forsyth Tech will receive NSA funding—in amounts to be determined by mid-September—to develop and administer workshops and professional development programs designed to train cybersecurity faculty in the region using a combination of face-to-face, live-streaming and hybrid training classes. The first class will be offered in spring 2017.
“We are honored to be named the NSA’s CAE Regional Resource Center for cybersecurity training, and look forward to welcoming faculty from around the southeast into the program,” says Dr. Deanne Wesley, department chair, Davis iTEC Center and department coordinator, Information System Security. “We are going to be purposeful about inclusion, offering classes in a variety of formats to make our trainings and workshops as accessible as possible.”
The workshops will include classes in how community college faculty can obtain a CAE designation for their cybersecurity programs as well as professional development workshops in data analytics, cryptography, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisitions (SCADA), and the Internet Of Things.
“The CAE in Cyber Defense Education award is highly sought after,” Wesley says. “This designation, issued jointly by the NSA and Department of Homeland Security, is the most prestigious recognition for cyber security excellence a college can receive.
“What makes the distinction especially notable is that most CAE designations are issued to four-year colleges, which speaks to the extremely high quality of cybersecurity education we offer at Forsyth Tech.”
In September, the NSA will also award Forsyth Tech funding under President Obama’s Cybersecurity National Alliance Plan to develop a pilot training program this fall aimed at primary and secondary school students. The program, called the Cybersecurity K-12 Pathway Initiative, will introduce students to digital security issues at younger ages in order to build potential career interest in this burgeoning field. This initiative is scheduled for implementation in January 2017.
“By 2020, experts estimate there will be 1.5 million unfilled jobs in the cybersecurity profession,” says Wesley. “The K-12 Pathway Initiative is a way of starting to meet this shortfall now by introducing young students to the profession, with the hope that they will choose to pursue a career in cybersecurity when they enter the job market.”
“Forsyth Tech’s designation as the NSA Southeast Regional Cybersecurity Center is another example of the college’s regional and national leadership in advanced technology education,” according to Forsyth Tech president Gary Green.
The other five community colleges that have been named Cybersecurity Regional Resource Centers by the NSA include:
* Mohawk Valley Community College (New England region)
* Northern Virginia Community College (Central Eastern region)
* Coastline Community College (Western region)
* San Antonio College (South Central region)
* Moraine Valley Community College (North Central region)
Forsyth Tech provides students with flexible educational pathways to a competitive workforce for the community and global economy. The college offers associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates in more than 200 programs of study, including programs that promote personal and professional development through non-credit courses and seminars, as well as customized training for business and industry. Forsyth Tech is the fifth largest community college in North Carolina and serves more than 35,000 students with approximately 1,500 full and part-time faculty and staff.