$16 Million Plan for Two New Cyber Squadrons Will Generate
Southwestern Illinois College
“is poised to help the community and Scott Air Force Base with any and all
training needs” associated with the recently announced $16 million U.S. Air
Force investment in two new cyber squadrons at SAFB, according to SWIC
President Georgia Costello, Ph.D.
The Air Force projects “a boost
to the area economy by creating 320 military and civilian jobs,” according to
The Associated Press.
“The most important role we will
continue to play is offering ‘stackable’ credentials, which allow our students,
many of whom find gainful IT-field employment while still pursuing a degree or
certificate, to build their resumes as they go,” Costello said. “Stackable
credentials are also enticing for full-time IT professionals who may want to
enhance their employment value and compensation.”
cybersecurity jobs require advanced postsecondary education, all the
foundational work in information technology can be accomplished at SWIC at the
lowest tuition. SWIC also anticipates forming IT and cybersecurity transfer
partnerships with other local colleges and universities.
SWIC currently offers a Network
Associate certificate requiring 16 credit hours of Cisco network training,
which prepares students to take the Cisco Certified Network Associate
certification exam. The college also offers stackable course work beyond the
certificate to help those completers meet Cybersecurity Specialist
requirements. These courses prepare students to take additional certification
exams such as: CCNA Security, Microsoft Technology Associate Windows Server
Administration Fundamentals, Security+ and Windows Server Network Infrastructure
“The stackable-track benefit is
completing Network Associate certificate training, gaining employment with that
certificate, earning additional certifications and then coming back for more
courses as professionally required or personally desired,” Costello added.
Costello also sees a
financial-incentive connection to its military students, as SWIC serves the
largest veteran and active-military population among public colleges and
universities in Illinois.
“Cybersecurity work often
requires the highest military clearance, and many military personnel already
have such clearance,” Costello explained.