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Eastern Florida Grant Generates Campus Cybersecurity Lab
April 21, 2014 - A federal grant to help launch new computer information technology programs at Eastern Florida State College is spawning a state-of-the-art cybersecurity lab that will improve student and workforce training.
The lab, located on the Palm Bay campus and scheduled to open this fall, will be a major plus to the Associate in Science Degree program in Cybersecurity the college began in 2013 to meet the rising need for expertise in the field. Cypersecurity is one of three specializations available now as part of the Networking Services Technology A.S. degree, and will transition to be part of the new Network Systems Technology A.S. degree starting August 2014.
“Cybersecurity is a fast growing area right now and there’s going to be a lot of jobs for a lot of people,” said David Shedrow, a computer science instructor. “The lab will be an important addition to our efforts.”
The facility is funded from part of a $1.5 million grant the college received last year from the U.S. Department of Labor under a national initiative to develop and expand innovative educational programs.
The lab will allow faculty and students to closely interact on ways to prevent hacking, the digital plague hurting individuals, businesses, corporations and government agencies.
It will also help attract new students to the field along with experienced workers from local companies such as Harris Corp., Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon that require annual cybersecurity training, said Shedrow.
Others who could be drawn to the cybersecurity and four-year Computer Information Systems Technologies programs include displaced NASA workers, unemployed or under-employed technology workers and technology professionals interested in changing careers.
“We’re hoping to build strong relationships with Brevard companies,” said Shedrow, who is working on the lab project with Assistant Professor Ross Decker. “If we have a good pool of students coming out of our program, hopefully they can get their foot in the door and get hired.”
The local and regional job market is particularly promising for cybersecurity graduates because companies such as Harris are major defense contractors and work on Pentagon projects where cybersecurity is paramount, he said.
Other money from the $1.5 million grant will help get three new Bachelor Degree programs in Computer Information Systems Technologies off the ground in August 2014, with specializations in Program Development/Software Development, Computer Project Management and Networking Systems.
The funds will also strengthen the college’s Associate in Science Degree in Computer Programming, develop a Mac lab for teaching mobile application programming, and create a voice-over internet protocol lab.
Eastern Florida is also benefiting from another $1 million federal grant from the National Science Foundation to ramp-up cybersecurity education.
The grant was awarded to Daytona State College in partnership with Eastern Florida through an affiliation agreement.
Some of the funds are allowing as many as seven Eastern Florida faculty members to take additional cybersecurity courses to further their knowledge in the field.