• MHCC, eight other community colleges, receive $5-million grant to expand cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing education

    GRESHAM, Ore. – Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) and eight partner community colleges across Oregon have received a $5 million consortium grant to expand access to cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing workforce training.

    The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced the Strengthening Community College Training Grant awards. Totaling in $40 million nationwide, the grants aim to support workers as they gain new skills and transition their career paths in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    MHCC was the first community college in Oregon to offer an Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity and Networking and continues to adapt its curriculum to ensure students are receiving the best training in this evolving field. This grant award will further expand access to cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing workforce training opportunities statewide.

    MHCC led the effort to obtain the grant with the following community colleges:

    • Central Oregon Community College
    • Clackamas Community College
    • Chemeketa Community College
    • Lane Community College
    • Klamath Community College
    • Portland Community College
    • Rogue Community College
    • Southwestern Oregon Community College

    Workforce development system partners include WorkSystems, the Oregon Workforce Partnership, Oregon Workforce Talent Development Board and several others. Businesses such as Amazon Web Services, EnergySec, McKinstry and others joined the consortium as employer partners.

    The Oregon Consortium for Strengthening Community Colleges is the only recipient of a Strengthening Community College Training Grant in the state and one of just 11 nationwide.

    “We have a robust group representing an immense amount of expertise that will strengthen cybersecurity education and job opportunities throughout the state,” said Kay Lopez, dean of Applied Technologies, Business and Information Systems at MHCC.

    The $5-million consortium grant will first hire a statewide project director, whose responsibilities will include gathering best practices among cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing community college programs and workforce partners. This collaborative effort will lead to updates to program curriculum, offering stackable credentials directly tied to employment and career advancement, alignment of policies related to credit transfer and program governance and more.

    In addition to increasing access to cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing training, the grant will also be used to address challenges associated with remote learning, including improving accessibility to workforce training opportunities that must be offered online due to the pandemic.

    “We know cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing is predicted to be an area of growth and need that will provide a number of well-paid and rewarding jobs. We are excited to work with our community college, workforce and business partners as we expand access to these educational offerings for those who are eager to enter or re-enter the workforce with timely skills that will be in demand,” said MHCC President Dr. Lisa Skari.

    About Cybersecurity and Advanced Manufacturing at MHCC

    The MHCC Cybersecurity and Networking program is acknowledged by the National Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security as a Center for Academic Excellence. The college is also home to the Oregon Center for Cybersecurity, which provides access to Information Security and Information Assurance resources. The college’s Advanced Manufacturing programs and courses include Mechatronics, Machining, Welding, Fabrication, Engineering Design, Additive Manufacturing and the use of Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing and Design.