By Jonah Grinkewitz

Old Dominion University's Cybersecurity Job Creation System (CJCS) was recognized with a 2021 Government Innovation Award from GCN (Government Computer News), a media outlet covering technology solutions in the public sector.

In an article describing the award winners, GCN highlighted the certification program's effort to fill in-demand jobs in defense.

"Old Dominion University's School of Cybersecurity has created a new cybersecurity job creation system that seeks to create a pipeline of workers who are fluent in DOD's CMMC requirements and the latest guidelines from the National Institute of Standards and Technology so they can help defense contractors secure their systems and products," GCN wrote.

ODU received a $1.45 million Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grant last June to start the program which is expected to help fill 1,300 new cybersecurity jobs in Virginia within five years.

The program is expected to become self-sustaining by tuition within two years.

Students who complete the six-course online program will receive a Cybersecurity Risk Management Certificate, the first of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Hongyi "Michael" Wu, Batten Chair of Cybersecurity and director of the School of Cybersecurity, said the program will provide students with the latest and more stringent Department of Defense cybersecurity requirements.

"This award recognizes the important work our School of Cybersecurity is doing to prepare a cybersecurity workforce with the knowledge and certification they need to compete in a critically important job market," Wu said. "Thanks to the support of GO Virginia, we are able to train skilled workers prepared to join the front lines of cyber defense."

Wu said they especially want to focus on training veterans.

The first class starts this March and students can also apply their credits from the program towards a master's degree at ODU once they finish.

Wu credits Brian Payne, vice provost for academic affairs; Robert Wojtowicz, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School; Renee Felts, assistant vice president for academic initiatives and continuing education; and Liz Smith, interdisciplinary initiatives administrator, for their collaboration to build the interdisciplinary certification program.

The program is expected to generate an estimated $12.6 million in state tax revenue by 2026 through job creation.

ODU's School of Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing in the nation, with enrollment jumping from less than a dozen students in 2015 to nearly 1,000 by 2021.

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