The Role of Community Colleges in Cybersecurity Education: Future Directions
In 2002, the National Science Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges convened a workshop and produced a pioneering report on "The Role of Community Colleges in Cybersecurity Education." At that time, community colleges had virtually no courses or curricula focusing on cybersecurity. The workshop and resulting report provided a blueprint for community colleges to build cybersecurity programs during the following years. Cybersecurity education has evolved dramatically since 2002, and the cybersecurity threats and needs of the nation have also evolved. Today, many fields outside information technology -- such as energy, biotechnology, healthcare, and the financial sector -- depend on cybersecurity and need workers with relevant knowledge and skills. In this project, Whatcom Community College and Moraine Valley Community College, the homes of two Advanced Technological Education (ATE) centers for cybersecurity education, will convene a workshop and produce a report that will examine the state of cybersecurity education at community colleges in 2020 and will identify challenges, opportunities, and an action plan for the coming years.
The 2020 workshop, which will involve approximately 150 experts from academia, industry, and government, will assess the impact that community colleges have had on cybersecurity education since the 2002 workshop and the role that graduates of community college cybersecurity programs have come to play in the nation's cybersecurity workforce. The workshop will also identify cutting-edge and emerging topics that community college curricula should address, with special attention to the cross-disciplinary nature of cybersecurity today. The resulting report will present needs, challenges, opportunities, and recommendations for academia, industry, and government. In so doing, it will update the 2002 vision and shape the role of community colleges in cybersecurity education for the coming years. Ultimately, this project will improve and modernize cybersecurity education at community colleges nationwide, helping to address the persistent need for well-trained graduates to serve the many economic sectors that depend on workers with some level of cybersecurity knowledge and skills.