The United States economy is increasingly reliant on highly skilled information technology professionals who not only have excellent foundational computer knowledge, skills, and abilities, but also possess the cyber security skills required to protect and defend the critical national cyber resources on which business and industry rely.
To address the demand of business and industry for these professionals, North Arkansas College (Northark) has designed this project to increase the number of skilled technicians who are trained in network technology with a cyber security focus.
The project will assist in diversifying the workforce and growing the economy in rural areas by providing access to high-tech jobs for low income students. The results of this project will be life changing and will provide a pathway out of poverty for many students and their families.
Goal 3: Upskill Northark faculty who will teach the updated curriculum. Professional development will be necessary to upskill faculty who will teach new curricula. Faculty will take advantage of training opportunities through NSF-ATE Centers and, if deemed necessary, credit coursework through statewide transfer institutions.
Goal 4: Expand delivery. Northark will provide access to more students by (1) expanding delivery methods to include online and other distance options, and (2) expanding delivery locations using on-site instruction and host sites for distance study. Northark will increase participation by underrepresented minorities in the IT/Cyber program as a byproduct of its growth plan.
Goal 1: Modify the Networking/IT curriculum. Northark faculty will update the curriculum to meet the needs of the BILT, including infusion with cybersecurity components and the addition of an internship option - which will benefit students and local businesses - to the IT/Cyber degree plan.
Goal 2: Expand the Business-Industry Leadership Team. BILT members are actively engaged in co-leading the IT/Cyber program to identify market trends, forecast job needs, and update needed Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. To keep ideas fresh we plan to augment the team with business representatives who are subject matter experts in the new curricular areas to be added over the next three years.