GRCC’s cybersecurity program earns national recognition

May 2, 2018 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Grand Rapids Community College's work in training the next generation of cybersecurity professionals is being recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

GRCC is one of two Michigan community colleges recently designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. The program's goal is to promote higher education and research in cyberdefense and train professionals with such expertise. 

"In practice, what this means is that Grand Rapids Community College delivers cybersecurity education on par with the best cybersecurity schools in the nation, and that we are working tirelessly to address a critical shortage of cybersecurity professionals in West Michigan and beyond," said professor Andrew Rozema, head of the Computer Information Systems Department. 

Cybersecurity and information security analysis jobs are in great demand in the state, with the number of jobs in the field expected to increase by 20 percent during the next 10 years, according to the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information. 

In GRCC's Center for CyberSecurity Studies, students have access to servers and networking equipment for hands-on work in systems administration, networking and cybersecurity. They also can gain experience through ethical hacking clubs.

Students who are interested in a cybersecurity career can earn a Pre-Information Security degree. But the cybersecurity courses are also required for the Network Administration degree.

At GRCC, cybersecurity is an interdisciplinary topic, Rozema said.

"Our IT staff works to ensure that the college practices what we teach, and our Business Department also covers cybersecurity in its curriculum," he said. 

This is just the latest nationally recognized credential for the Computer Information Systems Department. The CIS department was previously designated as an Academic Center of Excellence through the E-Commerce Council and the college's partnerships with the Cisco Networking Academy, Palo Alto Networks, RedHat, CompTIA Academy, and Microsoft Imagine Academy allow it to offer enhanced training that's highly sought by employers. 

The CIS department offers pre-major degrees in computer information systems, computer science and information security as well as two-year degrees in network administration, computer programming, graphics and web development, and computer support. 

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.

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