• MHCC Hosts National Cybersecurity Summit Amid Growing Oregon Cyber Industry

    This summer, Mt. Hood Community College will host the only national conference focused on cybersecurity education in community colleges: the Community College Cyber Summit (3CS). The event, which will take place August 2 – 4, is anticipated to attract more than 400 cybersecurity students, faculty, staff and industry professionals from across the country. Another 150-plus students and jobseekers are expected to attend the Pre-Summit Job Fair and the National Cyber League (NCL) demonstration, both held Thursday, August 2.


    According to industry professionals, the Portland area is especially poised to host such a conference given the rapid growth in the region’s cybersecurity sector.

    “It’s pretty stunning the number of open cybersecurity jobs in Oregon,” said Charlie Kawasaki, Chief Technical Officer of PacStar. “And it’s no surprise, because there’s a growing demand across all industries for cybersecurity professionals.”

    At Portland-based PacStar, which produces communications equipment for the U.S. Department of Defense, Kawasaki frequently hires students out of MHCC’s Cybersecurity and Networking program. But even with the college helping to fill his company’s staffing needs, overall demand – in Oregon and across the country – frequently outpaces supply.

    “It’s not always easy to find talent,” said Kawasaki. “At any time, we may have jobs open for six to nine months.”

    Steve Parker, president of cybersecurity focused energy sector nonprofit EnergySec, agrees.

    “There’s been exponential growth in the market, especially over the last five years,” said Parker. “That growth has really tracked with the number of high-profile cybersecurity attacks we’ve seen in the last decade. Now we’re at a point where every large company has a cybersecurity team.”

    An increased emphasis on cybersecurity can be found in the public sector as well. In November 2017, the State of Oregon established the Oregon Cybersecurity Advisory Council, an initiative aimed at increasing collaboration among the state’s cybersecurity professionals from the private, educational, law enforcement and local government sectors. One aspect of the initiative focuses on encouraging development of the state’s cybersecurity workforce through programs aimed at building workforce skills, facilitating research, identifying best practices, and supporting industry investment and partnership with post-secondary programs like that at MHCC.

    “Our program is really at the forefront of cybersecurity training on the national level,” said Wayne Machuca, an instructor of Computer Information Systems at MHCC. “The 3CS planning committee selecting us for its 2018 conference really enforces that national awareness.”

    MHCC’s Cybersecurity and Networking program is housed at the Oregon Center for Cyber-Security at the Gresham campus. The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security both recognize MHCC as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year (CAE2Y) institution for the school’s commitment to training cybersecurity professionals. During 3CS this August, industry professionals, educators and students will not only be able to explore MHCC’s cybersecurity program and facilities, they’ll have the chance to network, share curriculum ideas and best practices, discuss employers’ needs for cybersecurity skills, and discover the cybersecurity talent available from the nation’s community colleges.

    “There’s going to be great discussions and workshops going on and innumerable opportunities for everyone from students to seasoned professionals,” said Machuca. “We’re going to overwhelm the computer labs on campus – it’s going to be amazing!”

    The theme to this year’s 3CS is “Expanding Expertise – Transforming Community College Cybersecurity Programs.” You can learn more about the 2018 3CS by visiting www.my3cs.org