Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) and Howard Community College (HCC) are among the 14 Maryland community colleges that have partnered to receive nearly $15 million in federal grant funding from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) competitive grant program.
Dawn Lindsay, AACC president, and Kate Hetherington, HCC president, joined U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan last fall at the announcement of the winners of $450 million in job-driven training grants to nearly 270 community colleges across the country.
Maryland is a national center of cybersecurity, with more than 130,000 information technology (IT) jobs — 49% above the national average — yet many workers find these careers difficult to enter. The Maryland grant award will create the Cyber Technology Pathways Across Maryland (CPAM) Consortium, which will spearhead the expansion of career pathways to address workforce needs by working to close the skills gap and connecting more residents to high-quality employment.
Students will earn a one-year foundational Cyber Technology Certificate that prepares them to test for basic industry credentials and for entry-level jobs. This certificate will be embedded in two redesigned associate degree tracks, cybersecurity or networking, allowing students to accelerate through a two-year degree.
Montgomery College, located in Montgomery County, is the lead college in the consortium. HCC will receive $824,339 and AACC will receive $817,368.
The 14 community colleges from across the state will work in partnership with key employers, including IBM, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Rockwell Collins, Booz Allen, MedStar and a number of hospitals to develop training pathways for low-income workers with minimal prior education or experience in IT or cybersecurity.
To increase the likelihood of student success, participants will get upfront assessments, career planning and job search support. Students will have the opportunity to accelerate through a two-year degree that is aligned with National Security Agency guidelines for security and information assurance programs. During the next three years, the program aims to graduate nearly 2,000 students, and employer partners have already committed to interviewing qualified graduates.
For its role in the grant, AACC will share curriculum developed under its TAACCCT Round 1 grant, the National STEM Consortium. Maryland colleges will adapt the consortium’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) bridge strategy, while also creating a new cyber-readiness bridge program to prepare participants for associate degrees in cybersecurity or networking.
AACC will develop an application that will personalize learning for students, based on their knowledge and skills in two microcomputer courses. In addition, the college will collaborate with industry, technical assistance providers, consortium management, member colleges and students to develop, test, pilot, deliver and report on these learning solutions.
For its role in the grant, HCC will update select computer forensics and cyber curriculum courses with networking, Linux, open source, cell phone and malware infusion learning modules. In addition, the college will purchase equipment that will facilitate the virtualization of computer operating systems for training. Funding also will assist with increasing in-person mentors and implementing online support throughout the academic program.