Glendale Community College (GCC) was recently named as an Academic Engagement Network (AEN) partner by the U.S. Cyber Command. GCC is one of only fourteen community colleges nationwide, and the only community college in Arizona, to receive this prestigious invitation. The Academic Engagement Network is dedicated to creating a robust and accessible pool of qualified cyber professionals with the goal of shaping the United States cyber workforce. The U.S. Cyber Command, through the AEN initiative, supports and enhances four primary areas: future workforce, applied cyber research, applied analytics, and strategic issues.
The announcement was made by U.S. Cyber Command Executive Director David Frederick, “Cyber Command’s goal for the AEN is to strengthen our relationships and communication with these participating institutions,” said Frederick. “This will improve and sustain our efforts to meet cyberspace educational requirements and workforce needs. With our academic partners, we can shape our cyber workforce while supporting the command’s mission.”
The AEN extends partnerships to institutions through collaboration and access to the U.S. Cyber Command via scheduled events and engagements with command staff, the Cyber National Mission Force, and four-component commands.
In addition to the AEN partnership, the Cybersecurity program at Glendale Community College is a National Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. The goal of GCC’s Cybersecurity program is to educate and produce professionals who will reduce vulnerabilities in information systems and infrastructure through higher education and research in cyber defense.
“It is an honor to be the only institution selected in the state of Arizona. This is a tremendous opportunity for our program, our faculty and most importantly our students. We (educators) must collaborate in order to develop a program to meet the growing needs of a talented, hands-on, competent cybersecurity workforce.” Stated Martin Bencic, Cybersecurity Faculty and Occupational Program Director at Glendale Community College
Rachelle Hall, Business & Information Technology Department Chair at GCC added, "Receiving the honor of an invitation into the Academic Engagement Network adds yet another layer of rigor and validation to GCC’s cybersecurity degree programs. The opportunity to collaborate and benefit from partnerships with AEN enterprise members will provide our students with the highest level of cybersecurity education and resources we can offer. This designation is a result of hard work and an unending dedication to our students to ensure they are given every opportunity to succeed."
Since 2012, the U.S. Cyber Command has hosted more than 105 interns from the U.S. military service academies. Beginning in 2020, more than 25 civilian summer college interns and recent graduates also participated in other command internship programs. Additionally, high school juniors, seniors, and undergraduate students have participated in programs and projects via the command’s partnership with DreamPort.
Glendale Community College provides 41 Associates degrees, 61 certificate programs, and a range of non-degree offerings, all available to students in traditional, online and hybrid formats. Founded in 1965 to serve the northwestern part of the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, the college is part of the Maricopa County Community Colleges District, has two campuses and enrolls approximately 26,000 students annually, and employs approximately 1,000 resident faculty, staff, and administrators with an operational budget of $83 million.