The Carolina Cyber Network (CCN), co-founded by Montreat College and Fayetteville Technical Community College, is among the most advanced cybersecurity talent development ecosystems in the nation. CCN was formed to strengthen the State of North Carolina’s cybersecurity capabilities and assets through a coordinated, work-ready, talent development ecosystem that connects public and private institutions.

The CCN set out to prove that, when properly designed, a coordinated talent development pipeline could exist and be successful by working collaboratively rather than competitively. Understanding that the key to any relationship is trust, the CCN engages stakeholders to collectively secure funding, resources, and capabilities that benefit the entire network and not just a few of the participating institutions. The CCN has demonstrated rapid success by identifying key performance indicators and aligning the training capabilities of its members to those metrics. To further ensure alignment, the CCN intentionally engaged external stakeholders to ensure that graduates meet employer hiring criteria. Therefore, CCN has been extremely proactive in consulting with industry and government audiences to better understand the competencies needed to closely triangulate training and work alignment.

Through this effort, the CCN has built a sustainable network (18 colleges and universities currently) of two and four-year institutions committed to the CCN mission. The network is based on the following beliefs:

1) Student learning outcomes must include technical and non-technical (soft skills) competencies

2) Work-ready talent requires coaching and mentorship, as well as more non-traditional collegiate applied learning opportunities that address real-world problems in “live-fire” training environments

3) The talent development pipeline must be holistic and consist of multiple “on and off ramps,” so students can enter and exit higher-ed as their career needs evolve.

Through this design, the CCN can boast significant results in just two years, including:

• 18 schools working collaboratively together (up from two in less than two years).

• 60% increased enrollment across member schools.

• 197% increase in the number of graduates.

• 62% of member schools updating and augmenting their curricula with industry and government input.

• Nine member schools with National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (CAE) designations, eight more with the process for designation underway, and one school being mentored through the network to establish a new cyber program.

• Over $15 million in state funding previously secured, allowing CCN to grow and provide member schools critical resources to build capacity.

For more information, please visit the official website of the Carolina Cyber Network.