Engaging K-12 Teachers to Help Build a Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline

This project addresses a growing need for cybersecurity professionals in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, an expanse of urban and rural communities anchored by the cities of Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point. The project will focus on bolstering the academic capacity required to expand the talent pipeline of cybersecurity professionals to serve business and industry needs across the 12-county region. Local middle school and high school faculty will be enrolled in a 16 credit-hour program at Forsyth Technical Community College (FTCC) that will prepare them to integrate cybersecurity principles into their classrooms. Upon program completion, the teachers will have the knowledge and skills they need to be effective teachers of dual-enrolled high school students, which will result in an increase in the number of students who are prepared and motivated to enroll in a two-year program in cybersecurity. The teachers will also be prepared to earn cybersecurity certifications that will qualify them to serve as adjunct faculty at FTCC and will increase the colleges capacity to provide post-secondary and workforce-related instruction in cybersecurity.

Three goals guide the project team's efforts. First is to increase the number of cybersecurity professionals in the Piedmont Triad region. Second is to increase the number and knowledge level of cybersecurity faculty at the secondary and post-secondary levels. Third is to improve the diversity of the cybersecurity workforce in the Piedmont Triad region. The project expects to see several outcomes from its efforts. One is to enable FTCC to increase awareness of cybersecurity first principles and practices. Another is to develop lasting and effective partnerships for innovative cybersecurity education. Additionally, the College envisions keeping the talent pipeline filled with well-educated, multi-skilled, work-ready graduates who will be able to help satisfy a projected national shortage of 1.8 million workers by 2022. The project will leverage options available to North Carolina educators to seamlessly link dual-enrollment opportunities for high school students with the automatic transfer of credit awarded by community colleges. Through projects collaboration with business and industry leaders, teachers will develop deeper insights into the role of cybersecurity across academic disciplines.

ATE Award Metadata

Award Number
Funding Status
ATE Start Date
October 15th, 2021
ATE Expiration Date
September 30th
ATE Principal Investigator
Thomas Brown
Primary Institution
Forsyth Technical Community College
Record Type
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