Moraine Valley Community College, along with two other community colleges, received a roughly $700,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to help fund the education of students in cybersecurity, particularly veterans.

Between Moraine Valley and partner schools—Brookdale Community College and Sinclair Community College—the Community College Accelerated CyberCorps Pilot program is intended to help strengthen cybersecurity education programs and improve security of information technology across the U.S. Moraine Valley aims to fill the demand for cybersecurity professionals in government positions by giving students $45,000 over two years to study cybersecurity full-time, earn certifications and work a paid internship. All tuition is paid, but students must work for two years at a federal agency following their schooling.

“This is a really good opportunity for adults coming back to school. Between 15 and 18 percent of people coming to community college, especially in the career and technology programs, come back to change careers, and this is great for them,” said Dr. John Sands, Moraine Valley professor/department chair of Information Technology and director/principal investigator of the Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance (CSSIA) NSF National Center. “It’s the first time this is being done at community colleges, and it’s really a great opportunity.”

Moraine Valley has committed to identifying 12 students over the next three years to join the program. Currently, staff is identifying students who could complete this 18-month program starting in fall 2019. Students with degrees in any discipline, as well as veterans, women and minorities, are encouraged to participate.