It seems too often another big box business, corporation or even the government is hacked, and its online information is threatened. Cyber space isn’t a safe haven. That’s why Moraine Valley Community College’s Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance continues to develop and expand its cybersecurity programs.

Last week the college hosted a week-long summer Cyber Camp (also held in three other states) that held specialized sessions followed by a competition. Participants won invitations to the camp through the Cyber Quests online contest all of which are designed to improve cybersecurity skills, provide training and mentorship from world-class instructors and highlight skills for potential employers. This is one of several types of competitions the college hosts throughout the year.

Last year the Illinois Cyber Aces Academy named Moraine Valley the host of an elite Cyber Aces Academy. Partnering with the SANS Institute, select military veterans were given a year of free high-intense cybersecurity training and certification. They are receiving twice the education in half the time, which most universities are unable to do. Most will finish with several certifications and are guaranteed mid-level jobs by October, said Dr. John Sands, professor of Information Technology and co-principal investigator of the CSSIA NSF Regional Center.

“There’s a national effort to find talent in this field and connect them with government agencies, etc. Kellogg, Boeing, ComEd, and others are waiting to interview them. You hear about data breaches every day because a lot of companies don’t have qualified people. The idea of the academy is to increase the pool in specialized areas,” Dr. Sands said. “I’m also looking for some as potential instructors for the future.”

Additionally, Congressman Dan Lipinski mentioned Moraine Valley and its successes in teaching cybersecurity while talking on the floor about his cybersecurity bill last November. Last summer, Moraine Valley also was host to the first Community College Cyber Summit, which addressed cybersecurity at community colleges. More than 180 educators from across the country participated.

Twelve years ago Dr. Sands and his fellow teacher Erich Spengler saw the writing on the wall about where cybersecurity was heading. Spengler testified in Congress on its importance, and the duo helped write the standards for teaching cybersecurity. Since then, 5,000 teachers have been trained.

“There was no security online years ago, and you could hijack anything. Now it’s the most profitable crime in the world, and companies have to fend this off,” Dr. Sands said. “We’ve churned out a lot of top-level students. They’re all over the world. If you’re good in this field, you could go anywhere.”

There are a number of related classes offered this fall and throughout the year. A complete list of classes can be found in the fall 2015 class schedule or online at Registration is ongoing. Tuition is $116 per credit hour plus fees and books. Students who have applied to the college can register in the Registration Office, located on campus in the Student Services Center (Building S), 9000 W. College Pkwy. in Palos Hills; by phone at (708) 974-2110 (TTY 711); or online.