Cleveland State Gearing Up For Technology Surge

Friday, May 22, 2020

Living a life dependent on technology has made it more and more obvious that the systems which support it need protecting. As a result, the need to secure these systems has also grown. After consulting local employers on Cleveland State Community College’s Business Advisory Committee, the college decided to do something about it.

Starting this fall, CSCC is broadening their Computer Information Technology (CIT) division with two new offerings aimed at meeting our world’s growing and ever-changing CIT needs: Systems Administration and Management and Cyber Defense.

“Cleveland State is always working hard to ensure that we offer programs and training for high demand career fields,” said Susan Webb-Curtis, Dean of Business and Healthcare.

“Our new Cyber Defense and Systems Administration & Management concentrations are exactly the programs that will train and qualify employees to fill these important positions in business and industry.”

Until now, high level cybersecurity training was only available in Knoxville or Chattanooga. With these two new programs, that changes. And with these changes come an array of career opportunities.

Available as a one-year certificate or two-year associate’s program, the programs give students as many as 250 hours of hands-on training in the college’s Skills and Cybersecurity Laboratories. These hours of training help future and current CIT professionals master Microsoft desktop operating systems and Windows server administration, understand current scripting language, and prepare for IT industry certifications, including the following:

• CompTIA Network+

• CompTIA Security+

• CompTIA Linux+

• CompTIA Cloud+

Additionally, Cyber Defense students study principles of information assurance, digital forensics, and penetration testing and network defense. Then, they put those skills to work in the lab by developing an organization’s infrastructure and then attacking and defending it to find its weaknesses.

Ms. Webb-Curtis said, “Our CITC faculty have real world work experience in business and industry settings, and it will be a great benefit for our students to have them as instructors.”

One such instructor is CIT Instructor Bambi Cannon who has been with the college since last year. Prior to coming to CSCC, Cannon was in the IT industry for almost 20 years, most of which have been in industries with stringent security regulations. Cannon’s experience with HIPAA, GLBA, GDPR and other cyber-security regulations has allowed her to build these new programs and courses using real-world knowledge.

Ms. Cannon said, “We’re in the midst of vast technological advances being made worldwide. There is no better time to develop a program that prepares students to protect and defend information technology systems and networks.”

According to Ms. Webb-Curtis, new state of the art labs with relevant equipment will give students the opportunity for quality hands-on training. CSCC has also included capstone and internship classes that will give students the opportunity to gain actual experience in their new field. In addition, there are a number of industry certifications that the students will be prepared to test for in order to build their professional portfolios.

This experience is vital, as more CIT professionals are needed today than ever before in history. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that information security analysts alone will experience a 32-percent growth from 2018 to 2028.

That growth across the country is felt close to home, as well. One company chomping at the bit is KeyStone Solutions. A national company specializing in support to the Cleveland, Chattanooga, and Knoxville areas, KeyStone Solutions is eager for CSCC to turn out even more qualified CIT graduates, which will help the company serve more people moving forward.

“Cleveland State Community College is an integral part of our growth plan in the ability to provide work candidates in the IT field,” said Richard King, Chief Strategy Officer for KeyStone Solutions. “The CIT programs being offered guarantee knowledgeable candidates for our business and industry.”

For more information about Cleveland State Community College, visit the college at or call 423.472.7141.
Students are currently enrolled online and on-campus through the CSCC main campus in Cleveland, Tennessee, as well as CSCC’s Athens Center in Athens, Tennessee and Monroe County Center in Vonore, Tn.

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