Sinclair Community College (SCC; OH), Brookdale Community College (BCC; NJ) and Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC; IL) propose to increase the placement of highly qualified cybersecurity professionals in government positions for the Community College Cyber Pilot Program (C3P). This proposed project is in alignment with the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018. Through cohort-based learning, SFS scholars at each of the four-partner colleges will collaborate on activities and events, including student skills competitions, certification preparation workshops, visits to local federal agencies, and participation in job fairs. Experiential learning will allow students to gain skills from real cybersecurity vulnerabilities and attacks experienced by businesses and organizations. SCC is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense 2-Year Education (CAE-2Y) and MVCC is an Advanced Technical Education (ATE) National Resource Center.
The program will be based on several successful adult learning practices: cohort learning, experiential learning, competency-based education, and one-on-one, holistic student support. The objectives are to: 1) research, develop, and document new strategic roles community colleges can play in increasing the number of cybersecurity professionals employed in government sectors; 2) build effective collaborations between educational institutions, business, industry, and government; 3) prepare 24 Scholars For Service (SFS) to help meet government need for highly qualified cybersecurity professionals; 4) disseminate best practice models designed for replication by other colleges across the country, including: new protocols for conducting prior learning assessments to assist veterans in applying their education and experience to cybersecurity disciplines; and best practices for recruiting, selecting, and supporting non-cybersecurity Bachelor degree students through cybersecurity education programs (cohort models and success coaching).
Co-funding for this project is provided from the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) and NSF Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) programs, reflecting alignment of the project with major emphases of the ATE program on involvement of community colleges and the S-STEM program on financial and co-curricular support for high-achieving students with demonstrated financial need.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.