Focused on cybersecurity

President Joe Biden leads a discussion Wednesday during a White House summit on national cybersecurity. Kathi Hiyane-Brown (on right side), president of Whatcom Community College, was among the invited participants. (Photo: Whatcom)

The White House this week announced a series of initiatives to strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity, including efforts to develop and train a larger and more diverse cybersecurity workforce.

One of the initiatives includes the designation of the National Cybersecurity Training and Education Center at Washington’s Whatcom Community College (Washington) as the National Science Foundation’s new Advanced Technological Education National Cybersecurity Center. With a $7.5 million federal grant to expand its work, the center will provide cybersecurity education and training to faculty and support program development for colleges to “fast-track” students from college to career. 

“The nature of community colleges dispersed in every community in the nation makes them an ideal pipeline for increasing diversity and inclusion in the cybersecurity workforce,” the White House said in a fact sheet.

At a White House summit on national cybersecurity Wednesday, President Joe Biden met with private sector and education leaders — including Whatcom President Kathi Hiyane-Brown — to discuss the national effort needed to address cybersecurity threats.

“Cybersecurity threats are pervasive. This isn’t just an education problem or a technology problem, it’s a nationwide, cross-sector problem that demands a collective response,” Hiyane-Brown said in a press release. “It takes all of us working together to face this challenge.”

Corrinne Sande, the center’s principal director, attended a breakout session at the summit.

The center serves to develop a network of education institutions, businesses and government agencies to expand and sustain a robust cybersecurity workforce. It develops new resources and curriculum, leads workshops for faculty professional development, strengthens transfer opportunities for students, and supports the implementation of cybersecurity education standards. The center also builds business connections to expand work-based learning opportunities and scholarships for students.

The center reports that to date it has collaborated with more than 430 colleges and universities and more than 300 high schools, affecting approximately 30,000 students across the nation.

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