Labor and Commerce Secretaries Address Cybersecurity Career Pathways with Students and Faculty at Montgomery College

Secretaries Perez and Pritzker Tour College’s Cybersecurity Lab, Lead Roundtable Discussion with Business and Education Leaders

Montgomery College welcomed U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to the Germantown Campus Wednesday to discuss the importance of community colleges in preparing workers for careers in the 21st century economy.

The secretaries toured the College’s cybersecurity lab and met with students, many of whom were working on final projects and preparing for exams. Montgomery College was one of 14 state community colleges awarded a nearly $15 million grant through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative. Faculty discussed the innovative curriculum with the secretaries and shared information on how the grant can enhance the cybersecurity program at Montgomery College.

To view photos from Wednesday’s event, click here.

“Over the last four years the Department of Labor has invested nearly $2 billion in more than 700 community colleges across the country, including more than $27 million in Maryland alone,” said Secretary Perez, a former member of the Montgomery County Council. “Through these investments, Montgomery College and its partners across Maryland are bringing all of the right partners to the table to create opportunities for workers to punch their ticket to the middle class while also helping local businesses develop the pipeline of talent they need to prosper and grow.” Montgomery College will receive nearly $5.4 million and lead the consortium of colleges in establishing the Cyber-Technology Pathways Across Maryland initiative. The consortium will work to develop partnerships with over 40 cyber employers in the state and link low-cost training and education to expanding career opportunities. “As Secretary Perez and Secretary Pritzker have both said before, community colleges have a unique role in bridging the gaps between higher education and job-readiness,” said Dr. DeRionne Pollard, Montgomery College president. “Secretary Perez has called community colleges the ‘secret sauce’ in this formula, and he is right. But it is not going to be a secret anymore. This grant will train residents who might not have the opportunity to step into these skilled positions.”
Maryland is a national center of cybersecurity with over 130,000 IT jobs – 49% above the national average – yet many workers find these careers difficult to enter.

“For the first time in history, the Department of Commerce has made skills and workforce development a top priority,” Secretary Pritzker said. “The reason is simple: for our economy to grow and our families to thrive, we need to ensure that more workers are better prepared and better equipped to meet the demands of business in the 21st century. Meeting that task is a responsibility for all of us – and requires close cooperation between government, the private sector and institutions of higher education.” The 14 community colleges from across the state will work in partnership with key employers and a number of hospitals to develop training pathways for low-income workers with minimal prior education or experience in information technology or cybersecurity.

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