Tidewater Community College’s cybersecurity students have a new pathway to a bachelor’s degree at Old Dominion University.
TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani joined John R. Broderick, president of ODU, and Glenn DuBois, chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, at a signing ceremony Feb. 8 for an articulation agreement between TCC and ODU in the field of cybersecurity.
The signing, which was also attended by Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, formalized connections between the Hampton Roads institutions in cybersecurity curriculum and instruction. The event took place in the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond.
Cybersecurity has been identified as a key area for growth. Virginia is among the U.S. leaders in cybersecurity research and development and business integration, with 568 cyber companies operating in the commonwealth. But there is one major problem, McAuliffe said.
"We have 36,000 jobs open in cyber," McAuliffe said. "We either fill those 36,000 jobs or we lose them to elsewhere. That's why this articulation agreement is so important. Students get that degree, and I can hire every single person who comes out of Old Dominion University. I can hire them tomorrow."
TCC is designated by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. The designation recognizes schools that excel in preparing students to become leaders in cybersecurity.
“We are proud to be a national model in this high-demand job field that has become vital as computer hackers become more sophisticated,” Kolovani said. “Our goal is to protect and preserve the region’s and nation’s IT infrastructure, and build an IT and cybersecurity workforce in Hampton Roads.
Through the agreement, students graduating with an Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology and relevant cybersecurity course work from TCC will be able to seamlessly transition to ODU's cybersecurity major, offered through the Interdisciplinary Studies program in the College of Arts and Letters.
Kolovani added, “TCC’s information systems technology degree and cyber security certificate, plus TCC’s one-of-a-kind cybersecurity apprenticeship programs, stack perfectly into the bachelor’s degree for IT/cybersecurity students at Old Dominion.”
Broderick said the agreement reflects the University's hands-on, multidisciplinary approach to cybersecurity, which is designed to meet the needs of government and private industry.
He said the agreement will mean students who move from TCC to ODU can save the cost of tuition for 18 months of college. "Equally important, this agreement will help get cybersecurity graduates into the workforce more quickly, where they are needed," Broderick said.
TCC provides the educational component for what are considered the first cybersecurity apprenticeship programs to be registered with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.