Reporter’s notebook

Making NYC a cyber security hub

LaGuardia Community College will lead an intensive cybersecurity boot camp as part of Cyber NYC, a $30 million initiative in New York City to make the city an international hub for cybersecurity innovation.

LaGuardia will host a six-week preparatory course for adults who have limited exposure to information technology, teaching the basics of industry software and terminology in preparation for the boot camp.

The boot camps will provide New Yorkers with industry-targeted skills and will aim to place more than 1,000 students in jobs over the first three years. Cyber NYC is expected to help create 10,000 good-paying jobs in the coming decade, providing an inlet to many New Yorkers from non-traditional backgrounds, particularly those from low-income families or who are otherwise disadvantaged.

Queensborough Community College (QCC) will also participate in the initiative. City University of New York will enlist cybersecurity professionals to serve as adjuncts in an expanded tech-in-residence program. QCC is among the colleges where the adjuncts will be deployed initially.

Houston system launches new online college

Houston Community College (HCC) has launched its new Online College, which includes 32 fully online degrees and certificates. By fall 2019, the college will have a total of 71 fully online degrees and certificates.

“The students who have registered for online courses this fall are the first to have the option of completing a fully online pathway to a certificate or associate degree at HCC,” said Chancellor Cesar Maldonado.

The online college “expands educational opportunities for stay-at-home moms and dads, students committed to caring for elderly loved ones at home and those already in the workforce who need additional education to move up in their careers or change their careers altogether,” said Norma Perez, vice chancellor of instructional services and chief academic officer.

With more than 21,000 students taking one or more online classes, HCC is the third largest community college in the U.S. for online enrollments.

A new center of excellence in nursing ed

The National League for Nursing (NLN) has named Michigan’s Washtenaw Community College (WCC) a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education, one of just 16 nursing programs nationwide to earn the honor this year from across the academic spectrum of higher education in nursing and leading teaching hospitals and clinical sites.

WCC is the first institution in Michigan to be named an NLN Center of Excellence and just the eighth two-year college to earn the distinction out of the 66 institutions honored since the program began in 2004.

“When students graduate, they’re going to have that Center of Excellence in Nursing icon associated with their diploma, and that’s significant,” said President Rose Bellanca. “Prospective employers can be assured that they were educated in one of the top-tier programs in the country.”

Serving two nursing needs

Holyoke Community College is launching a pilot program to teach English language skills to nurses from Puerto Rico so they can re-enter the workforce in Massachusetts.

The Western Mass Pipeline for Puerto Rican Nurses project gives priority to evacuees from Hurricane Maria but is also open to other nurses from Puerto Rico who now live in western Massachusetts.

The free program, supported by a $35,000 Nursing and Allied Health Pathways grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, will provide 108 hours of ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language) classes – six hours a week for 18 weeks – for up to 30 Puerto Rican nurses who want to pursue their licenses in Massachusetts.

“There is a need for more nurses in the region,” said Kermit Dunkelberg, vice president of adult basic education and workforce development at the college. “At the same time, we have nurses from Puerto Rico who are already licensed, have experience and are living here and are not able to work in their field and typically working below their education and training because their license doesn’t apply in Massachusetts.”

The ESOL classes are designed to prepare participants to pass the International English Language Testing System exam, which will qualify them to take the NCLEX nursing exam.

Basic railroad training course

Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania has partnered with New Jersey Transit to offer a locomotive engineer and conductor basic training program.

The 65-hour introductory course prepares students to enter a training program to become an engineer or conductor on a freight or passenger rail line. Once accepted, engineers can earn a training salary up to $53,000 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. After training and certification, which takes about two years, salaries range from $60,000 and higher.

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