NIC awarded $185,671 federal grant to expand cybersecurity programs

North Idaho College has been awarded a $185,671 grant by the US Department of Defense National Security Agency to expand cybersecurity education. In April, NIC was the only community college in Idaho to earn a highly selective designation and become a national Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense 2-Year Education.

“This grant will go a long way in furthering the goal of the CAE2Y designation in promoting higher education in cyber defense, preparing a growing number of cybersecurity professionals, and reducing vulnerabilities in the nation’s networks,” said Kathleen Czurda-Page, NIC Computer Information Technology instructor/Cyber Defense program manager.

The CAE2Y institutional national designation was established by the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security, with the support of the National Science Foundation and CyberWatch West Center for Cybersecurity Education. Cybersecurity courses are part of the curriculum in NIC’s Computer Information Technology Education program.

The grant will fund several initiatives, including:

· Develop online curriculum, which will include hands-on learning experiences in cybersecurity, embedded certificates, and access to a virtual lab facility.

· Increase access to cybersecurity education for rural residents in NIC’s service area who currently have limited ability to pursue a degree.

· Develop a cybersecurity camp for local high school students. The camps will establish pathways for local high school students to pursue cybersecurity training through NIC.

· Develop and strengthen career pathways from local secondary and rural vocational schools to NIC’s Computer Information Technology Education program. Graduates will be ready to join the workforce or transition to a four-year institution. 

· Expand the current cybersecurity curriculum to include a 12-credit hour cybersecurity certificate, and introductory cyber safety- and cyber-awareness modules to be taught at both the college and secondary level.

· Increase opportunities for Idaho learners to earn stackable skills/badging credentials.

“The field of cybersecurity is growing rapidly and there is a significant need for a larger workforce. The NSA grant will ensure opportunities for advancement are readily available for NIC students,” said Sue Shibley, NIC Business and Professional Programs division chair. “This is an exciting field and NIC is proud to be on the forefront.”

For more information, visit or call (208) 769-3448 to schedule an appointment with an adviser.

Posted: Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017

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