OCTC program named top cybersecurity program by DHS and NSA

Scott Williams

Owensboro Community & Technical College's computer and information technology program has been named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

This designation will remain through academic year 2024.

The goal of the National Center of Academic Excellence program, according to the DHS, is to reduce national information infrastructure vulnerability and promote higher education and expertise in cyber defenses. There are more than 270 schools that have designated NCAE programs.

The application for this designation required proof that OCTC courses cover fundamental cybersecurity best practices; faculty members hold key cybersecurity-related certifications; and that OCTC's CIT department provides cybersecurity information for the public via the school's website.

Now the school's CIT program is listed as on the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security website as a center of excellence.

According to the National Cyber Strategy released by the U.S. government in 2018, developing a "highly skilled cybersecurity workforce is a strategic national security advantage" and the U.S. will "continue to invest in and enhance programs that build the domestic talent pipeline, from primary through postsecondary education."

Among initiatives detailed within the NCS, building a sustaining the talent pipeline, expanding educational opportunities for America's workers, enhancing the federal cybersecurity workforce and highlighting and promoting cybersecurity educators and cybersecurity professionals are some of the things the U.S. government plans to do to develop a superior cybersecurity workforce.

Scott Williams, OCTC's president, said school officials and staff are proud of this recognition and are pleased to be able to promote the accolade to prospective students.

"It clearly demonstrates the quality of our CIT program," he said. "I congratulate the faculty for pursuing this coveted award."

For more information about OCTC's CIT program, contact Theresa Schmitt, the program's coordinator, by calling 270-686-4604 or emailing her at theresa.schmitt@kctcs.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315.

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