Southwest Tennessee Community College selected for national Cyber Skills for All Initiative
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(Memphis, Tenn.) – Southwest Tennessee Community College was recently selected as one of 14 community colleges across the nation to participate in the Cyber Skills for All: Community Colleges Lead the Way Initiative, made possible by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and a $20,000 grant award from the Microsoft Foundation. As part of the grant, Southwest will join a “community of practice” consisting of community college workforce and economic development executives across the nation aimed at skilling people for participation in the digital economy.
“I am thrilled Southwest was chosen to participate in this year’s Cyber Skills for All learning cohort and grateful to Microsoft and AACC for their investment in our college,” said Dr. Tracy D. Hall, president of Southwest Tennessee Community College. “The opportunity to collaborate with cybersecurity peers from across the nation will enhance our cybersecurity program and allow us to provide students the highest quality industry education to achieve success. I am excited that as part of this grant initiative, we will be able to grow a more diverse talent pipeline for our region’s cybersecurity workforce.”
“The partnership is critical to ensuring that students have the skills needed in an ever-changing field,” said AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus. “As technology evolves so do the skills needed to protect the nation’s technology infrastructure. Working together with Microsoft, we will provide these community colleges with resources to ensure students learn the relevant skills needed in the workforce. Selected community colleges will have the opportunity to learn best practices from one another to continue to deliver high-quality, industry-relevant cyber skills education to all students.”
In addition to receiving technical assistance and support of the college’s cybersecurity program, the grant award will increase the talent pool and will focus on African American and Hispanic students, populations that are historically underserved in the field of IT and cybersecurity. The grant’s three phases include cybersecurity instructor training that results in a Microsoft certification, a free course open to the public on SC-900T00: Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals, and paid internships where students will gain work-based learning experiences with area industry partners.
“More and more companies are relying on electronic data capture and analysis, making
cybersecurity increasingly important for the protection of sensitive information,”
said Dr. Aaron Jagers, department chair of technologies. “Cybersecurity professionals
are in high-demand throughout the Greater Memphis Area yet training in this industry
can be costly. I am pleased we could factor into our grant, no cost, entry-level cybersecurity
training for students and the general population.”
“The United States faces a cybersecurity skills crisis – we simply don’t have enough people to combat the increasing number of cybersecurity attacks,” said Kate Behncken, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Philanthropies. “By working with AACC we can help ensure there are enough people with the necessary skills to keep organizations secure and people safe.”
Other institutions part of the learning cohort include: Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College; Hostos Community College; University of Arkansas Cossatot; North Hennepin Community College; Wichita State University Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology (WSU Tech); Community College of Philadelphia; Central Community College; Bellevue College; Blue Ridge Community and Technical College; College of Western Idaho; Tulsa Community College; City Colleges of Chicago; and College of Southern Nevada.