BRCC Launches Security Program

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October 23, 2018
School Receives $ 200,000 Cybersecurity Grant
Daily News- Record 10/23/18
WEYERS CAVE — Thanks to a $200,000 Go Virginia Cyber Security grant awarded to Blue Ridge Community College, selected individuals will receive cybersecurity training.
The program was highlighted Monday during the Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity during a session on economic development, which was attended by BRCC President John Downey.
The new program will launch its first cohort of students next week. Fifteen people have been selected to receive three months of training, which includes a refresher course, and access to Cybrary, a cyber library, where they will have lessons customized to their level of knowledge, said Marlene Jarboe, an academic dean at Blue Ridge.
This access to information and teaching will come at no cost to students thanks to the grant. Included is the Security + exam, which shows they are certified in cybersecurity. Similar programs in Northern Virginia can cost upwards of $5,000, Jarboe said.
Blue Ridge has hired instructor Dan O’Brien to lead the program.
The goal of the grant is to train and employ 50 Tier I cybersecurity analysts by July 2020, and a local commercial company partner plans to offer jobs in Harrisonburg and Waynesboro to successful graduates based on customer demand.
Many companies outsource their cybersecurity needs to providers across the state, so their is a need for the service locally.
Entrepreneur Gerard Eldering owns Innovative Tech, a company based in Northern Virginia. Eldering plans to open offices in Waynesboro and Harrisonburg that will employ BRCC graduates to act as security service providers for companies.
“A lot of businesses outsource that service,” Jarboe said.
The school plans to graduate three or four cohorts of between 15 and 20 students over the next two years. Perspective students go through a competitive application process that also includes a background check.
The second cohort of students hasn’t been selected yet.
“This is open to everybody, not just Blue Ridge students,” Jarboe said. “We have been advertising at the all the major colleges. Military personnel are encouraged to apply.”
Some of the applicants for the first cohort of students needed a little
more experience before starting the cybersecurity program, so the Blue Ridge Community College Foundation paid for a semester of tuition and books for them to get their experience, Jarboe said.
“I was so impressed by the pool of applicants,” Jarboe said. “Some are ex-military. Some are graduates of our IT program that just want to better themselves and get a better paying job.”