Owensboro Community & Technical College is partnering with the University of Louisville, and other colleges nationwide, to offer an online cybersecurity workforce certificate program this fall.

The program is funded by the National Security Agency, and the college was chosen to participate because OCTC earned a designation as a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

The cybersecurity workforce certificate is a six-month program in which participants complete 24 modules, all online. Along with learning foundational work required for cybersecurity, participants learn artificial intelligence, cyber threat hunting, network security, data mining, blockchain, digital forensics, database security, cloud security, post-quantum cryptography, risk analysis and robotics process automation analysis.

Through this process, those who participate also will have a chance to earn badges from the leaders in tech such as Google, Microsoft and IBM.

First responders and veterans can participate in this program at no cost as part of the NSA grant. Others who are interested in the program can do so for $1,500.

Cheryl Purdy, the local project lead, said multiple OCTC staff were involved in developing the curriculum for this program. The program is asynchronous, which means it will take place without any scheduled class meetings and participants take it 100% online. Formatting the program like this, Purdy said, allows participants to complete the modules at times that are convenient for them.

“Although fully online, instructors are available throughout the term for virtual office hours and for assistance with any questions or issues,” she said.

She said the reliance on technology has grown “exponentially” over the past two decades, which means the need for securing cyber and digital assets has increased.

“This coalition project provides an opportunity for our community to enhance their knowledge and as such, be better prepared to protect those technology assets,” she said.

Scott Williams, OCTC president, said this program is a great opportunity for veterans, first responders and others to “skill up for the future.”

“The range of module topics is timely for today’s competitive marketplace,” Williams said.

The pilot program is accepting 200 students, with staggered start dates between August and February.

For more information about the program, or to apply, contact Lindsey Kafer at lindsey.kafer@kctcs.edu, or call 270-686-3781.

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

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

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