HCC Cybersecurity program heads toward certification

Feb 9, 2016

Cyber Security 600

With the growing number of cyber-attacks, ongoing attention is required to protect businesses, personal information, and manage the challenges of security in cyberspace. The demand for cybersecurity professionals far surpasses the need. To help combat this growing trend and competitive market, Houston Community College (HCC) is applying for designation as a Center of Academic Excellence for 2-year colleges (CAE-2Y).

CAE-2Y is part of the nation’s cybersecurity defense program established by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The program will increase students’ understanding of robust cyber defense technologies, policies, and practices. This program will contribute significantly to the advancement of state-of-the-art cyber defense knowledge and practices.  

“Every aspect of our infrastructure and society is now operated by some form of computer — your car, your bank account, the aircraft in the sky, the electric grid, social and business communications, everything we touch today is increasingly digital and, therefore, increasingly vulnerable,” HCC Center of Excellence for Digital and Information Technologies Director Doug Rowlett, Ph.D. said. “We will be hard pressed in the next decade to provide enough trained workers to protect us.” 

Professor Trevor Chandler and Scott Hillman, HCC Cybersecurity faculty members, applied for a C-5 Mentor grant for HCC. The awarded grant provides HCC with a CAE-2Y faculty mentor dedicated to assisting the college through the in-depth application process. The HCC CAE-2Y faculty mentor, Professor Stephen Miller, hails from Eastern New Mexico University-Ruidoso which is listed as a CAE-2Y institution. Miller met with HCC faculty for the first time to speak about the application process and what is required for HCC faculty, staff, and students to achieve CAE-2Y designation.  

"The CAE-2Y designation sets your institution and cybersecurity program apart nationally and internationally in cybersecurity education and outreach,” said Miller. “This accomplishment is proven when community colleges are designated as CAE-2Y; students are better trained to be cybersecurity professionals and obtain employment. It will produce new opportunities and open doors for HCC and their students. "

If HCC is designated as a CAE-2Y school, HCC will receive formal recognition from the NSA and DHS and Department of Defense as well as opportunities for prestige and publicity for their role in securing our nation's information systems. Grants and grant partnerships will also allow HCC to continue cybersecurity advancements and training.  

Students will be eligible to apply for scholarships and grants through the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program and the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service Program. Once HCC receives the CAE-2Y designation, it will be the fourth community college in Texas to offer the Cybersecurity certification. For more information on the new HCC Cyber Security program, go to: hccs.edu/cybersecurity.

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