AVON PARK - South Florida State College will be hiring a director to oversee the development of new programs in logistics and cyber security, which will be funded through a recently awarded $1 million grant.
Hiring a director to develop the programs is the first priority, said Kevin Brown, SFSC dean of the Division of Applied Sciences and Technologies . "We are thinking in terms of trying to find somebody who is more in tune with logistics than the networking, because the college already has a solid computer science and networking program," he said.
Joel Boydston, who oversees the Cisco Networking program, will be retiring in January so the college will likely hire a faculty member with a master's degree in computer science, Brown noted.
SFSC is a member of a seven Florida college consortium that was awarded a total grant of $10,950,000 for Project XCEL-IT to accelerate and improve efforts to deliver workforce training in rural, economically challenged areas of the state.
SFSC's $1 million portion of the grant with be allocated over a three-year period.
Brown said the college will be developing curriculum for a degree program in cyber security for computer networks to guard against hackers.
The college will be working with its Law Enforcement Academy to establish an information technology forensics program for retrieving information from cellphones and computer hard drives, he said.
Also, the college will develop a logistics program dealing with inventory systems, distribution centers, transportability, tracking packages and the laws concerning what can and cannot be transported.
The college is studying where in its service district of DeSoto, Hardee and Highlands counties the logistics program will have the greatest impact.
Brown said by the middle of May a decision will be made on the campus location for the program, but he also noted classes could be spread among all the campuses so everybody would have an opportunity to participate in it.
"We need to have our program up and going to train people by mid-September of 2014," he said. "That could be in the form of college credit course for a degree or it could be in the form of specialized courses for somebody who is already working in a field."
For example, someone who is working at the Lowe's distribution center in Frostproof may want to take one course on digital scanning and package tracking, he explained.
"We are excited about it," Brown said. "It's going to provide more opportunities for people to learn stuff here and broaden their horizon."
Jobs as network systems and information security professionals are expected to grow by 53 percent in the 10-year period ending in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For logistics positions, the 2010-20 job growth is estimated at 26 percent, which is faster than average, according to the bureau.
Despite the high competition for computer forensics jobs, "the sheer growth of the applications of computers will continue to drive faster than average rates of growth within the field," according to CollegesAndDegrees.com.