Westchester Community College
Westchester Community College

Westchester Community College (WCC) is one of the few community colleges in the country to be designated with the new Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Education requirement by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Institutions that receive a CAE in Cybersecurity designation have met the rigorous requirements set forth by the federal government. The NSA and DHS award this designation to schools that commit to reducing vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by improving higher education and research in cyber defense and producing professionals with cyber defense expertise.

The Wiener Philanthropy has provided a $1 million grant to establish the Robert R. Wiener Center for Excellence in Cybersecurity, a state-of-the-art Cybersecurity lab and technologically advanced classrooms. The grant also covers the cost of faculty development, curriculum development, and adding new degree programs and industry credentials. The grant includes the establishment of The Robert R. Wiener Cyber Scholars program that awards scholarships up to $5,000 to top-performing Cyber students at WCC.

The WCC Cybersecurity Program includes two curricula:

  • AAS Cybersecurity
  • Certificate in Cybersecurity

The Cybersecurity major provides a strong foundation in the Computer Technology security area. It covers the functions of hardware, operating systems, databases and networks. It is designed to bring students from beginner classes to advanced topics in security such as Computer Forensics, Network Security and Ethical Hacking. This program prepares students for employment in entry-level positions in Information Technology departments, information assurance, security firms and digital forensics. The program is designed for both students who intend to seek full-time employment after graduation and the student who wishes to continue their studies at a four-year college.

These programs, taught by industry certified faculty, represent not only a series of classes but also a practical applied training with the primary goal of increasing students' competitive advantage for the workforce. WCC ranked second in the Northeast in completion rates among its Cybersecurity students. The success of the WCC Cybersecurity Program is directly linked to constant changes and collaborations that mold the program towards industry needs.

The WCC Cybersecurity Program is unique in the region. Students are able to acquire certifications, internship opportunities, cyber-competitions and other applied learning opportunities combined with hands-on approach classes that mimic what companies require you to know in order to be hired. Courses are taught by industry certified faculty, many of whom are highly-sought consultants in the field, and who provide extensive mentoring, advising, and career guidance and networking.

Students who attend Westchester Community College appreciate that it has one of the lowest tuition rates in the region. WCC also has many transfer agreements with four-year institutions, including in the fields of technology and Cybersecurity, which facilitate the pursuit of higher academic goals.

Professor John Watkins is the Curriculum Chair for the Cybersecurity Program and the CAE Director. Professor Watkins, the owner of a computer consulting firm that has been providing IT services for businesses in the tri-state area for over 15 years, brings this hands-on experience to the classroom setting, giving students a valuable window into the professional world of IT security.

Westchester Community College
Valhalla, NY