Effectively Delivering Networking and Cybersecurity Education in a Rural Environment
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 cybersecurity 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 cybersecurity focus. The project team will enhance and expand their program by infusing the existing Information Technology/Network Systems Administration curricula with cyber security components. The Business/Industry Leadership Team (BILT) at the college will play an active role in setting the direction of the IT program as they have an increased need for more highly trained skilled technicians in IT/Cyber. 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. Northark will share all aspects of the project, including newly developed methods of engaging Business and Industry (the BILT model), methods to offer course materials remotely, strategies to recruit and provide access to rural students, and curricular improvements, on a website devoted to this project and at in-state, regional, and national conferences. A comprehensive evaluation will determine which components of the project are most effective and where modifications are needed.