The need for a highly skilled cybersecurity and IT workforce is well documented and unequivocal. Demand for security skills, once limited primarily to government and the defense industry, has spread throughout the economy (Burning Glass, 2019). Job growth is predicted to continue to outpace the number of available qualified workforce (CyberSeek.org, 2020). Community and Technical Colleges respond to this need through their education of the skilled technical workforce. This project aims to strengthen and grow a specific component of that workforce, namely the nations cybersecurity/computing professionals. The projects approach is to work to increase the quality of the requests for external support that these institutions seek to improve cybersecurity education at their campuses. Towards this end the project investigators plan to attract a diversity of community and technical college teams, composed of faculty, grant writers, and selected administrators and staff and provide team-based professional development designed to increase the competitiveness and innovativeness of each teams proposed efforts in support of the education of the cybersecurity/computing skilled technical workforce.
In each year, up to twelve community and technical college teams of two faculty members and a grant writer will be accepted through an application process to participate in this team-based professional development and mentoring program. Each team will be carefully matched with and supported by a seasoned mentor who has been trained through a series of coaching sessions by the leadership team. Essential elements of the program, including mentor training and coaching skills, pre-workshop mentee preparation, a multi-day workshop, and post-workshop webinars coupled with team mentoring throughout the entire process, are designed to help participants crystalize their innovative ideas and develop competitive proposals for external support.