BHEF's National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative Celebrates ACES Program
(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 -- The Business-Higher Education Forum issued the following news release:
Today, Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) past chairs and members Wes Bush, chairman, CEO, and president, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and William E. "Brit" Kirwan, chancellor, University System of Maryland (USM), joined other dignitaries, including University of Maryland President Wallace Loh, to address the inaugural class of the Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES) Program (http://www.aces.umd.edu/) at the University of Maryland, College Park.
ACES is one of a dozen regional workforce projects (http://bhef.com/our-work/regional-projects) led by BHEF members--Fortune 500 CEOs and university presidents--across the country. Through BHEF's National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative (HEWI), members collaborate to develop and advance innovative solutions to our nation's most significant education and workforce challenges, thereby enhancing U.S. global competitiveness.
In 2010, Governor O'Malley designated cybersecurity as a key component of Maryland's competitiveness and the state's lead workforce focus. Maryland is home to several top federal agencies, military services and private sector firms, including NASA, NSA, NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and the DOD Cybersecurity Command and U.S. Navy. As part of BHEF's HEWI, ACES directly addresses this need and is the nation's first undergraduate residential honors program in cybersecurity. To meet the need of a cyber-enabled workforce, ACES is an interdisciplinary living-learning program where its students live together, use embedded, state-of-the-art laboratories, and work closely and collaboratively together inside and beyond the classroom.
As the nation's first and only full four-year honors undergraduate program in cybersecurity, ACES' focus on the first two years of undergraduate study will help students persist and succeed in this critical field. Business and federal agencies play a vital role; Northrop Grumman, NSA, and NIST will have deep and sustained engagement with ACES students and faculty, a key lever within BHEF's model of strategic business engagement.
"Northrop Grumman is proud to team with the USM and BHEF to bring this important program to life. Not only does the ACES program represent an innovative approach to education, it addresses the shortage of cyber professionals that are in high demand by industry and government," said Wes Bush, Northrop Grumman chairman, CEO and president.
Additionally, as part of BHEF's strategy to scale workforce solutions through regional networks, ACES participates in the USM-BHEF Maryland Undergraduate Cybersecurity Network, which connects, leverages, and aligns the system's undergraduate cybersecurity initiatives. Beyond the USM and its campuses, the network is made up of business and government leaders committed to solving workforce challenges in cybersecurity in Maryland and addressing high priority policy scenarios, such as earlier clearances for undergraduate students.
"The ACES program represents a new model for cybersecurity education, combining an accelerated technology curriculum with intensive interdisciplinary study in the social and behavioral sciences," stated Kirwan. "At the University System of Maryland, we are pleased to see this inaugural ACES cohort at our flagship campus because it combines the important career-focus component with the traditional academic focus of cyber disciplines."
BHEF CEO Brian Fitzgerald summarized the event: "Just over 18 months ago, ACES existed as a concept. Today we met students who will benefit from this unique opportunity. The speed at which the Northrop Grumman-USM regional cybersecurity workforce project matured from an idea to an educational pathway in one of today's top emerging fields is a testament to Wes' and Brit's commitment. As one of several projects in our National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative, ACES reflects BHEF members' urgency and resolve to implement evidence-based workforce solutions and ensure our undergraduates succeed in emerging fields."
The Northrop Grumman Foundation also supports undergraduate cybersecurity through the Cyber Scholars Program, based at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. With its focus on increasing the number of women and underrepresented minorities in the field, it welcomed 20 students this fall into a program that includes special on-campus housing, unique courses, mentoring, and the chance to take part in cybersecurity research and internships early in their academic careers.
(c) 2013 Targeted News Service
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