Mon, May 20, 2024

Direct cyber path to Augusta University for GA technical colleges

Leaders from Augusta University and the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) signed an agreement creating a direct pipeline for cybersecurity students.

It’s patterned after the Augusta Advantage initiative launched in January 2023. Although Augusta Advantage is open to students in multiple areas of study, including business administration, communications, and social work, the statewide agreement is specifically for students studying cybersecurity.

The agreement creates a seamless path for students at all 22 of Georgia’s technical colleges pursuing an Associate Degree in Cybersecurity to continue to a bachelor’s degree at AU. They will be eligible for accelerated admissions to transfer credits earned at the technical schools to AU’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity.

Greg Dozier, TCSG Commissioner

“Today marks a watershed moment in our efforts to cultivate a robust cybersecurity workforce in Georgia,” said TCSG Commissioner, Greg Dozier in a news release announcing the agreement. “This collaboration not only streamlines the academic journey for our students, but also empowers them with the specialized knowledge and resources essential to thrive in the cybersecurity field.”

Dr. Alex Schwarzmann, Dean of the AU School of Computer and Cyber Science, told ABD this articulation agreement is particularly important for the Augusta region.

“The greater Augusta region is seen as a center in cybersecurity with Augusta University and Augusta Tech. We are very, very close neighbors in the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center, our classrooms are literally wall to wall with each other. And it is important for us to generate a pipeline of highly qualified cybersecurity professionals. Especially because of the area that we’re in,” he said.

Schwarzmann said AU is currently seeing nearly 100 transfer students each year into their cybersecurity programs. Some are what are known as non-traditional students, adults who make a conscious decision to start at a technical college but decide to then pursue a four-year degree.

He said growing the talent pool of qualified cyber professionals is vital.

“There is a shortage of qualified cyber professionals. Nationally, depending on certain estimates, there are more than half a million unfilled jobs in cybersecurity and so regionally probably have tens of thousands of these in Georgia alone,” he explained.

“Increasing the pipeline of cybersecurity professionals is one of the benefits of this agreement. Our cybersecurity graduates all have offers, in most cases, a year before they graduate. This year alone, we have 30% more applications for admissions as compared to last year.”

Students in Georgia’s technical colleges can pursue certificate, diploma, and degree programs in cybersecurity. Students gain both practical skills and theoretical knowledge that prepares them to transfer to AU, should they choose to do so.

“We are excited to join forces with TCSG in our collective endeavor to nurture the next generation of cybersecurity leaders,” said Augusta University President, Dr. Brooks Keel in the news release. “By seamlessly integrating TCSG students into our program, we are not just building a pipeline of talent for business and industry, we are also fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation between Georgia’s two higher education systems.”

In addition to its own programs, AU can tap into a wide range of resources in cybersecurity including the Georgia Cyber and Innovation Training Center, along with partnerships with Fort Eisenhower and other Department of Defense assets.

Schwarzmann said preparations to launch the agreement at all 22 technical colleges are underway. He advised students interested in the program to discuss it with their faculty advisors.

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