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Future Directions Summit Examines Community Colleges’ Role in Addressing Cybersecurity Workforce Gap

Bellingham, Wash. — On June 26 - 28, the National Cybersecurity Training & Education Center (NCyTE) hosted at Whatcom Community College (WCC), in partnership with the National Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance (CSSIA) and National CyberWatch Center, hosted a summit in Alexandria, VA focused on addressing the nation's growing, critical workforce gap in cybersecurity.

The Future Directions 2022 Summit: The Role of Community Colleges in Cybersecurity Education builds off the 2002 workshop and report, co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Association of Community Colleges, titled Protecting Information: The Role of Community Colleges in Cybersecurity Education. Exactly twenty years later, leaders and stakeholders in cybersecurity education gathered to examine how the system has evolved over the last two decades to meet the growing workforce demand— along with the cybersecurity threats and needs of the nation. 

NCyTE members, alongside leaders from NCyTE's host institution Whatcom Community College (WCC), joined some of the most influential minds in cybersecurity to discuss the essential role community colleges play in addressing the critical shortage of qualified cybersecurity workers in the United States.

On June 27, Whatcom Community College President Dr. Kathi Hiyane-Brown facilitated a high-level focus group on the Challenges and Opportunities community colleges face in addressing the cybersecurity workforce gap.

“As we continue to see, the threat to cyber security, nationally, and worldwide, is a persistent, invasive, and accelerating issue across all sectors. Cybersecurity threats are fast-changing, and it is vital to keep curriculum development, and training performing ahead of current trends to interrupt attacks and to ensure that our students enter the workforce competitively prepared,” said Dr. Kathi Hiyane-Brown, President, Whatcom Community College.

More than a dozen community college faculty from across the country contributed findings from research studies on cybersecurity education topics such as An Examination of Community College and Government Partnerships and The Achievements and Obstacles in Building a Diverse Cybersecurity Workforce. Corrinne Sande, NCyTE Director and Principal Investigator and Director of CIS and Computer Science at WCC, contributed a study titled Community College Leadership Roles, Including the Impact of the NSA/DHS CAE Program on Community Colleges on behalf of NCyTE and WCC. The findings and recommendations from these studies, along with insights gained during the resulting discussions at the Summit, will be compiled and released as a publication on NCyTE’s website and in print in coming months.

Keynote speakers at the Summit included notable figures in cybersecurity education. Among them were Lynne Clark, Chief of the Center for Cybersecurity Education, Innovation and Outreach at the National Security Agency (NSA); Will Markow, Manager of Client Strategy - Analytics at Burning Glass Technologies; and Murray Kenyon, Vice President of Cybersecurity Partnership Executive / Information Security Services at US Bank. 

Markow’s presentation illustrated the widening workforce gap, now projected at over 700,000 unfilled positions across the U.S. alone. Community colleges use innovative outreach strategies and relevant, real-world curriculum programming, resources, and practices to reach and educate untapped, diverse, potential new student populations. These and other strategies are a vital component of closing the workforce gap.

“The Future Directions Summit was an opportunity to explore new concepts for addressing the growing cybersecurity workforce gap,” said Corrinne Sande, NCyTE Director and Principal Investigator and Director of CIS and Computer Science at WCC. “NCyTE was honored to host this event and participate in this vital discourse. The resulting Summit publication will focus and accelerate efforts to address this challenge across government, industry, and academia— supporting our nation’s security and prosperity.”



About NCyTE: The National Cybersecurity Training & Education (NCyTE) Center is funded by the National Science Foundation. NCyTE's mission is to advance cybersecurity education in the U.S. to support tomorrow’s workforce. The NCyTE Center is based in Bellingham, WA at Whatcom Community College. For more information visit www.ncyte.net.

About Whatcom: Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington is regularly recognized as one of the top community colleges in the nation for student outcomes. The College, a destination for cybersecurity, healthcare and business studies, offers two bachelor of applied science degrees, transfer degrees, career and workforce preparation, online courses, and community education classes. New high school graduates, laid-off workers, seasoned employees, future university students—all students count on WCC to support their academic and career goals. For more information, visit www.whatcom.edu.

Whatcom Community College welcomes applications for the Director for the Center of Excellence (CoE) in Cybersecurity. This role will support the CoE's efforts to carry out the four focus areas of Washington State Centers of Excellence— economic development; industry sector strategy; education, innovation, and efficiency; and workforce supply and demand.

Media Contact & Public Information Officer: Marni Saling Mayer, PIO and Director of Communications & Marketing,  pio@whatcom.edu, Phone: 360.383.3312

Toyo Garber, NCyTE Center Marketing & Communications Manager, TGarber@whatcom.edu, Phone: 360.383.3176