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Mark Sorrells stands in the middle of a classroom with Cyber Threat maps on digital displays behind him.

FTCC President Dr. Mark Sorrells discusses FTCC’s cyber security program with military leaders. [Photo by Brad Losh]

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have redesignated Fayetteville Technical Community College as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education through the 2028 academic year. 

“Your ability to meet the increasing demands of the program criteria will serve the nation well in contributing to the protection of the National Information Infrastructure,” said National CAE Program Manager Renae Weathers in her notification letter to FTCC. NCAE seal

The National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity program creates and manages a collaborative cybersecurity educational program with community colleges that: 

  • Establishes standards for cybersecurity curriculum and academic excellence
  • Includes competency development among students and faculty
  • Values community outreach and leadership in professional development
  • Integrates cybersecurity practice within the institution & across academic disciplines
  • Actively engages in solutions to challenges facing cybersecurity education 

Students attending an NCAE2Y college are given the opportunity to apply for the highly coveted Department of Defense Cybersecurity Scholarship Program (DoD CySP), participate in monthly tech talks led by industry experts, and attend specialized virtual hiring events and career fairs. 

“A highly skilled cybersecurity workforce is a strategic national security advantage,” Weathers said. “The United States Government will continue to invest in and enhance programs that build the domestic talent pipeline, from primary through postsecondary education.”  

Rhiannon Holley, interim chair of FTCC’s Systems Security & Analysis department, said FTCC is “privileged and honored” to be recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence for a second term. 

“Our mission at FTCC is not only to deliver industry-aligned training, but to create opportunities for lifelong success by changing the lives and futures of our students for the better,” she said. “This designation enables us to continue to serve our students and the community, ultimately bridging the gap between industry needs and cybersecurity talent.” 

Students in FTCC’s award-winning cybersecurity programs have a variety of educational opportunities, including academic degrees, industry-level certifications and other credentials. For information, please visit 

FTCC is also a co-founder and leader in the Carolina Cyber Network, a consortium of 18 two- and four-year colleges and universities in North Carolina, which are working collaboratively to address the gap in cyber skills.