WESTCHESTER – Westchester Community College has been designated a Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Education by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA). To support the efforts of the Center and create pathways for many students who might not otherwise have such an opportunity, Robert Wiener announced that The Wiener Philanthropy will donate $1 million.
WCC is one of only nine community colleges nationwide to earn this new designation, and the only one located in the tri-state region. 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 who can fill the 3+ million unfilled positions in this critical field.
The $1 million Wiener Philanthropy grant donation will create the Robert R. Wiener Center for Excellence in Cybersecurity, including 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.
In addition, funds have been provided to establish the Robert R. Wiener Cyber Scholars, a scholarship award recognizing the top-performing Cyber students at WCC. The first cohort of 20 promising students will each receive a $2,500 scholarship this year, allowing them to enter an in-demand high skills career pathway with support to develop their talent to full potential.
“WCC is proud to be designated by DHS and NSA as a Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Education,” said John Watkins, Cybersecurity Curriculum Chair. “This program enables us to continue serving our county, our state, and our country with the trained professionals needed in high-demand fields. Our students benefit from the cutting-edge curriculum and wrap-around services our program offers, and they leave our program with a skill-set that will lead to high-paying careers in an exciting field.”
“The support Bob Wiener has provided WCC over the years has been truly remarkable. His generosity and dedication have opened the doors to opportunity for hundreds of students,” said Dr. Belinda Miles, President of Westchester Community College. “This grant supporting our new Cybersecurity Center shows that Bob is also a visionary. The center that will bear his name will be a state-of-the-art testament to that vision, and a focal point for the critical training that is required to ensure the smooth operations of our region’s economic recovery and growth.”
“This initiative would not have been possible without the efforts of many people within the College community,” continued Dr. Miles. “The support of the Westchester Community College Foundation in securing Bob’s financial commitment has been critical. Our faculty have exhibited tremendous teamwork in preparing our cyber scholars to be lifelong learners who, as cybersecurity experts will be discovering, exploring and solving complex technical problems with passion and purpose. And, of course, the effort, self-motivation, dedication, engagement and accomplishments of our Wiener cyber scholars has been inspirational to us all.”
“I feel that this is the best investment that I’ve ever made because I watch young students move on with their lives with an education and add to the community – This is what’s wonderful to me,” said Bob Wiener, Chair of MAXX Properties. “My own grandfather came to this country in 1906 and, with his mind and his determination, created a business and a rewarding life for himself and his family. Westchester Community College provides today’s students with the same foundation that I hope will lead to hundreds, even thousands, of similar stories.”