Kentucky's Midway College to Offer Homeland Security Degree

Jul. 8--SOMERSET -- Beginning in October, Midway College will offer a bachelor's degree program in homeland security assessment.

The classes will be at The Center for Rural Development headquarters in Somerset, home of the National Institute for Hometown Security.

The program was announced yesterday at the center.

"Homeland security is not simply the job of the federal government. It's all of our jobs," said Midway College President William B. Drake.

The curriculum will address homeland security, not from a law enforcement or corrections perspective, but from a business-management perspective, said Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center for Rural Development.

For example, students will study how to minimize the economic impact of terrorism, how to establish security measures to protect employees, and how to protect corporate records, data and transactions.

"Most corporate security directors have not been trained in this," Drake said. "What I'm concerned with is companies who have 100 employees or 200 employees."

But are such companies a target for terrorists?

Drake said many small companies are, particularly for the hazardous materials they handle. "They need to be considered in the matrix," he said.

Students in Lexington and Louisville will be able to take the courses through the videoconferencing capabilities of the center and the Kentucky Community and Technical College system.

Midway already offers courses in elementary education, human resources management and organizational management at Somerset Community College. Midway, based in Woodford County, is best-known as Kentucky's only women's college, but it also offers programs to men and women through its School for Career Development. That school offers degree-completion programs in 17 Kentucky cities, including Midway, and in Williamson, W.Va.

No federal homeland security funds will be used in the Somerset program, Drake said. The program will be financed by student tuition and private donations to Midway, he said.

The degree requirement will consist of 15 courses in the homeland security assessment major.

Midway will offer upper-division courses at the 300 to 400 level and select electives as needed.

Courses will be offered by KCTCS that will fulfill general education and elective requirements.

The state Department of Criminal Justice Training, located on the Eastern Kentucky University campus in Richmond, trains law enforcement in homeland security issues, and evaluates the preparedness of Kentucky communities in regard to terrorism.

Chuck Melville, who directs the preparedness program, said there is a need for homeland security training in the private sector.

"Anything they can do to bring the private sector into this and not rely on the government to do it all" is beneficial, Melville said.

EKU's College of Justice and Safety does some assessment training through an assets protection program, Melville said.

<<Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) (KRT) -- 07/10/06>>