CyberWatch Program Recognized by President Obama and Senator Mikulski

Top Quote National Cybersecurity Education Program Earns Plaudits for Preparing College Students to Meet Critical Workforce Needs. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) March 16, 2012 - CyberWatch, a cybersecurity education consortium funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), was touted in separate speeches by President Barack Obama and Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) recently for its vital work preparing community college students to enter the cybersecurity workforce.

    Before a speech on Feb. 13 at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), President Obama was introduced by CyberWatch student Mike Phillips. The president later told Mike's story in his speech, saying, "Mike had to start all over again. He's got a knack for computers. So he figured he'd try a career in cybersecurity, where there is a lot of hiring. Luckily for Mike, NOVA is home to a program called CyberWatch."

    The president added that when Phillips graduates with an associate degree from the program he will have access to a network of more than 40 CyberWatch partner companies and government agencies.

    Sen. Mikulski praised CyberWatch in a Feb. 23 speech at Prince George's Community College (PGCC), where the program is headquartered, and toured a cybersecurity education classroom.

    "Prince George's County is the epicenter of cybersecurity education, not just in the state of Maryland, but in the nation," Sen. Mikulski said. "The funds I put in the federal checkbook for National Center of Academic Excellence student scholarships and the PGCC CyberWatch program will help prepare Maryland students for jobs that will make our country safer and Maryland's economy stronger."

    Established in 2005, CyberWatch provides cybersecurity curriculum development, faculty professional development, student development and career guidance to nearly 90 community colleges and universities. The PGCC-based headquarters serves as the catalyst for sharing best practices, methodologies, curricula, course modules and materials with academic institutions across the country that wish to develop a cybersecurity curriculum. The organization is currently pursuing NSF recognition as a National Center for Advanced Technological Education.

    "Employers time and again tell us that there are cybersecurity jobs waiting for individuals who have the right skills," said CyberWatch Director Casey O'Brien. "We believe the support expressed by the president and senator speaks to the importance of our mission and how we're accomplishing it."

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