Glen Oaks Community College has been selected as one of 14 community colleges in the nation to receive the “Cyber Skills for All: Community Colleges Lead the Way Initiative,” grant, funded by the Microsoft Foundation.
“The grant paves the way for us to increase the rigor of and improve our cybersecurity offerings,” said Tammy Russell, executive director of institutional planning, assessment, and research. “It allows us to adopt the gold standard, EC Council curriculum—the EC Council is the world’s largest cybersecurity technical certification body, which offers industry-recognized certificates in cybersecurity programs, including ethical hacking and cybersecurity defense. The certification aligns our curriculum with the Department of Defense standards.”
Awarded by the American Association of Community Colleges, reviewed by a team of experts in workforce and economic development and by key Microsoft staff members, Dr. David H. Devier, Glen Oaks president, and Kevin Conner, professor of information technology, accepted the award on behalf of the college in early February in Jacksonville, Florida.
As part of the grant, Conner will receive professional development in the curriculum, positioning him for advanced cybersecurity certification himself – a cost that would normally be prohibitive for an institution the size of Glen Oaks.
“The most significant part of the grant will be in the form of direct student financial support to participate in the cybersecurity program at GOCC,” said Russell. “Student scholarships will offset (and perhaps cover entirely) the high cost of fees associated with these classes. Our hope is that such enticements will increase enrollment and improve retention and completion in the program.
“In addition, a focus of the grant is aimed at increasing the number of women and racial and ethnic minorities into the field of cybersecurity,” said Russell.
Conner hopes to gain insight in strategies to build and strengthen a regional advisory board to support the continued development of the cybersecurity program.
Other institutions receiving this prestigious award are: Bismarck State College, ND; Clover Park Technical College, WA; Cuyahoga Community College, OH; Hawaii Community College, HI; Laramie County Community College, WY; Miami Dade College, FL; Middlesex Community College, MA; Moorpark College, CA; Northwest-Shoals Community College, AL; Oklahoma City Community College, OK; Paradise Valley Community College, AZ; Southside Virginia Community College, VA; and Temple College, TX.