November 18, 2021
Three Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) Computer Information Systems (CIS) faculty members have been awarded $595,800 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund the Advanced Technical Education (ATE) project, “Online Cybersecurity Certificate with Stackable Credentials to Increase the Number and Expertise of Cybersecurity Technicians.”
These include Ahmet Mete Kök, who serves as Principle Investigator (PI); and co-PIs Mohammad Azhar and Ching-Song Wei, who is the CIS Department Chair.
The three-year grant period is from September 2021 through August 2024, and the project will serve at least 100 college and 30 high school students.
The project builds on the CIS Department’s ATE project in cybersecurity that received NSF funding in 2016. It will extend recruitment efforts to attract incumbent workers looking to upgrade their skills in cybersecurity, as well as high school students who are considering cybersecurity as they explore careers in information technology.
Participants who complete the program will gain an industry-recognized certificate for completing their training as cybersecurity technicians, and earn 30 “stackable” credits that count toward an associate degree in CIS at BMCC.
Stackable credentials teach valuable skills for employment, as well as enabling individuals to make progress towards a degree. The new program addresses the critical shortage of cybersecurity professionals by targeting high school students — whose stackable credits will give them a solid start on an associate degree in CIS at BMCC — as well as incumbent workers who want to advance their skills and move up in their careers.
One difference between the original and current ATE program is that courses developed through BMCC’s previous NSF-ATE project in cybersecurity have been adapted for online instruction.
This allows incumbent workers to participate in the program around their work schedule, and it enables both high school participants and current IT workers to avoid unnecessary COVID exposure.
In addition, participants will benefit from enrichment activities such as summer bridge courses, industry certification workshops and career panels with industry experts.
In the process of developing the online certification, the project will adopt curricula and create faculty development activities, benefiting from resources already existing in other NSF ATE Centers in Cybersecurity. Likewise, the BMCC ATE program will be replicable across many other colleges moving in this direction to bolster the cybersecurity workforce.
The project will also involve an Advisory Board comprised of educators and industry specialists.
These individuals will provide valuable contacts for participants already working in the field. As for high school students, the Advisory Board will provide insight into career options they might be considering.
NSF awards three Computer Information Systems (CIS) faculty $595,800 to fund the Advanced Technical Education (ATE) project, “Online Cybersecurity Certificate with Stackable Credentials to Increase the Number and Expertise of Cybersecurity Technicians.”
Ahmet Mete Kök serves as Principle Investigator (PI); co-PIs are Mohammad Azhar and Ching-Song Wei, CIS Department Chair
Three-year project will serve at least 100 college and 30 high school students, who will earn cybersecurity industry certification as well as 30 credits toward a CIS associate degree