UWF Cybersecurity adds partnerships and workforce development opportunities in 2022

March 1, 2022
The Center, established in 2014, continues to expand and add new partnerships and opportunities for workforce cyber training

Pensacola, Fla. – March 1, 2022 – The University of West Florida’s Center for Cybersecurity is building off its momentum since emerging as a national leader in cybersecurity workforce development. The Center, established in 2014, continues to expand and add new partnerships and opportunities for workforce cyber training.

This year, UWF was named among 84 institutions across the country selected to join U.S. Cyber Command’s new Academic Engagement Network, known as CYBERCOM. As a member of the network, UWF will join other universities in supporting CYBERCOM efforts in areas such as future workforce, applied cyber research, applied analytics and other strategic issues. A joint command center of the U.S. Department of Defense, CYBERCOM’s mission is to direct, synchronize and coordinate cyberspace planning, working in collaboration with domestic and international partners to defend and advance national interests.

“This will give our students and faculty the opportunity to work with U.S. Cyber Command on cybersecurity challenges that face our country and also be part of the solution for those research problems,” said Dr. Eman El-Sheikh, associate vice president for UWF’s Center for Cybersecurity. “It will also expand talent pipeline opportunities for our students with CYBERCOM and federal government partners.”

UWF has built a reputation as a leader in cybersecurity education, research and workforce development. In an effort to meet state workforce needs in cybersecurity, UWF and Miami Dade College recently completed the details of an articulation agreement that combines valuable resources from UWF and MDC to provide a seamless articulation pathway for Florida students. A memorandum of understanding was signed in August 2021, at MDC Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami. Under the agreement between UWF and MDC, MDC students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree may be eligible for express admission into the Masters of Science in Cybersecurity program housed in the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering at UWF.

“The UWF MDC Bachelor's-to-Master's articulation agreement is a great opportunity to produce highly skilled individuals in areas of cybersecurity with a deep understanding of the security issues we face in software, data, business operations and our nation,” said Dr. Jaromy Kulh, dean of the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. “The agreement shows that UWF and MDC have made cybersecurity education and meeting the current workforce demands in areas of cybersecurity a priority.”

The UWF Center for Cybersecurity launched and expanded several workforce development programs this year to help individuals launch or advance their cybersecurity career. The UWF CyberSkills2Work program is currently accepting applications for the second cohort of cybersecurity training for veterans, transitioning military personnel and first responders. CyberSkills2Work is part of the National Cybersecurity Workforce Development Program, funded by a $9 million grant from the National Security Agency National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Program. UWF leads a coalition of 10 NCAE-C designated institutions to establish the national program addressing the critical shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals in the U.S and train over 1650 veterans, transitioning military, and first responders over the next two years.

The Center offers additional workforce development programs funded by the NSA, Office of Naval Research and Regions Foundation. This month, the Center accepted applications for its CyberSuccess Program, catered towards veterans, military and first responders seeking entry-level skills and job opportunities. Thirty-eight applicants were accepted to the intensive seven-month training program offered completely online. Participants can earn five industry certifications and will receive support getting connected with employers and jobs.

Additional training pathways will be offered later this year, including a more advanced pathway for those with IT skills looking to advance their cyber career and those interested in teaching or critical infrastructure security roles.

“As cyber threats continue to increase in complexity and occurrence, so does the need for expanding the number of qualified cybersecurity professionals. UWF continues to develop flexible and scalable workforce and training programs that deliver the competencies and skills needed by employers across our State and Nation,” El-Sheikh said. 

For more information on the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, visit uwf.edu/cybersecurity