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ODU/TCC Cybersecurity Education Agreement Formalized in Richmond

By Brendan O'Hallarn

RICHMOND - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the cybersecurity articulation agreement between Old Dominion University and Tidewater Community College is a key piece to solve the critical shortage of cybersecurity workers in the Commonwealth.

With federal hiring frozen and more Department of Defense cuts possible this year with another round of sequestration, McAuliffe told an audience of state legislators, cabinet members and representatives of ODU and TCC that Virginia must diversify its economy.

Cybersecurity has been identified as a key area for growth, and Virginia is among the U.S. leaders in cybersecurity research and development and business integration, with 568 cyber companies operating in the commonwealth. But there is one major problem, McAuliffe said.

"We have 36,000 jobs open in cyber," McAuliffe said. "We either fill those 36,000 jobs or we lose them to elsewhere. That's why this articulation agreement is so important. Students get that degree, and I can hire every single person who comes out of Old Dominion University. I can hire them tomorrow."

Old Dominion President John R. Broderick joined Edna Baehre-Kolovani, president of Tidewater Community College, and Glenn DuBois, chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, at the signing ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 8, which formalized connections between the Hampton Roads institutions in cybersecurity curriculum and instruction.

Through the agreement, students graduating with an associate's degree in information systems technology and relevant cybersecurity coursework from TCC can seamlessly transition to Old Dominion's cybersecurity major, offered through the interdisciplinary studies program in the College of Arts and Letters.

President Broderick said the agreement reflects the University's hands-on, multidisciplinary approach to cybersecurity, which is designed to meet the needs of government and private industry.

He said the agreement will mean students who move from TCC to ODU can save the cost of tuition for 18 months of college. "Equally important, this agreement will help get cybersecurity graduates into the workforce more quickly, where they are needed," President Broderick said.

TCC is designated by the National Security Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

"We are proud to be a national model in this high-demand job field that has become vital as computer hackers become more sophisticated," said President Baehre-Kolovani.

"TCC's information systems technology degree and cybersecurity certificate, plus TCC's one-of-a-kind cybersecurity apprenticeship programs, stack perfectly into the bachelor's degree for IT and cybersecurity students at Old Dominion University."

Old Dominion recognized this critical Commonwealth need in launching its cybersecurity initiative in 2015. Old Dominion hired internationally recognized scholar Hongyi "Michael" Wu as its first Batten Chair of Cybersecurity. Wu has led the creation of the University's Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research, which brings together the work of more than two dozen faculty members at Old Dominion.

ODU has blended coursework with research, bringing together faculty, staff, students, community members and other partners to discuss how to study and teach cybersecurity.

TCC provides the educational component for what are considered the first cybersecurity apprenticeship programs in Virginia. Formally approved by the Virginia Apprenticeship Council in June, the three new registered Virginia Department of Labor and Industry apprenticeships in cybersecurity are: information security analyst - cyber security analyst; information security analyst - computer forensics analyst; and information security analyst - incident response analyst.

The effort to develop the articulation agreement was coordinated through the Hampton Roads Cybersecurity Education, Workforce, and Economic Development Alliance, a collaborative funded by the National Initiative on Standards and Technology involving multiple institutions, businesses and other partners.

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