ATE SHOWCASE ...
HCC’s director of technology and
computer studies. “The motivation to
restructure our programs came from
our newly acquired skills in cybersecu-
rity. We are very proud of the fact that
our networking technology students
can now choose from two pathways:
Network Administrator or Network
Security. This education allows students
to prepare for computer industry certifi-
cations as well as earn college credit that
transfers to institutions that offer infor-
mation assurance bachelor degrees.”
As a result of their work with these
centers, six community colleges—Anne
Arundel Community College (AACC)
in Maryland, HCC, MVCC, Oklahoma
City Community College in Oklahoma,
PGCC, and Rose State College in
Oklahoma—were recently awarded
the coveted designation of Center of
Academic Excellence 2 Year (CAE2Y)
in information assurance education.
Though the designation, a joint pro-
gram of the National Security Agency
(NSA) and the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS), has been available to
four-year schools for 13 years, this is
the first year that community college
IA programs have been eligible.
How does a community college go from
a single IA program to a designated
CAE2Y in IA education?
Cyber Watch and its lead institution,
PGCC, worked closely with NSA, DHS,
and the NSF to make CAE2Y a reality.
CAE2Y recognizes an institution’s commitment to cybersecurity education
through its IA program, partnerships
with K– 12 education, involvement with
the broader community, and support for
IA education in other disciplines.
CAE2Y recognizes the excellence of
a college’s IA program among industry
and government agencies, paving the
way for graduates to enter the workforce. It provides potential employers
with a standard and an understanding of
the knowledge and skills graduates are
expected to have. It provides the local
community with a greater appreciation
for the importance of IA education,
it serves as a recruitment tool for the
college internally and externally, and it
provides the college’s state with a pipeline of potential future workers.
Kelly Koermer, dean of the School
of Business, Computing and Techni-
cal Studies at Maryland’s AACC, says,
“CAE2Y communicates to four-year
institutions the quality and nature of
a community college’s IA curriculum.
As such, CAE2Y facilitates articulation
agreements. It also provides industry
recognition for the purposes of securing
training contracts and industry support
for grant applications.”
Cyber Watch has also established a
mentor program to assist community
colleges in submitting winning applica-
tions for the CAE2Y designation.
Through these opportunities, community colleges can become an integral
part of the IA academic community and
the broader cybersecurity workforce.
Our institutions can become a local and/
or regional resource for producing IA
professionals and providing community expertise. With the support and
assistance provided by the three ATE
centers, and with the added recognition
of institutional excellence through the
CAE2Y designation, community colleges
can no longer sit on the sidelines of this
growing career sector.
RobeRt SpeaR is director of the Cyber Watch
Center at Prince George’s Community
College in Maryland. VeRa ZdRaVkoVich
is senior adviser for the CAE2Y Mentor