Whatcom Community College receives $500K grant for cyber-security

Whatcom Community College has received a National Science Foundation grant of nearly $500,000 to develop the school’s nationally recognized cyber-security program.

The grant will fund a three-year project, called “Capacity Building in CyberSecurity,” which will help the college develop a new two-year, information-assurance degree that will parallel similar four-year programs planned at Western Washington University and the University of Washington.

Local high schools and educational partners such as Bellingham Technical College, Northwest Indian College and the Whatcom Tech Prep Consortium are also part of the project.

“Because we educate many of the students who go on to become IT systems administrators for industry and government organizations, community colleges play a vital role in this important aspect of national security,” said Kathi Hiyane-Brown, the college’s president, in a press release. “We’re proud that the NSF recognizes Whatcom’s track record of success in this field and look forward to working with our local and regional higher education partners on this important project.”

College officials hope to increase the number of students pursuing information-security degrees and ensure graduates have the right skills to succeed in the cyber-security industry.

Currently, no public universities in Washington offer four-year degrees in information assurance or cyber-security. With a growing threat of security breaches worldwide, demand is high for cyber-security professionals, according to Corrinne Sande, coordinator of WCC’s Computer Information Systems program and the project’s principal investigator.

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