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Central Illinois Center of Excellence for Secure Software (CICESS)

ISHPI has an industry-led approach to training and skills formation for secure software development in Central Illinois, home of ISHPI’s AIS Software Development group.

The CICESS-IL initiative combines academic theory and work experience to train a globally competitive workforce in developing software that is secure from cyber-attacks by:

  1. Using industry-defined competencies and requirements as well as a standardized curriculum to create highly-skilled, capable, and readily employable graduates.
  2. Creating an accredited program, in which students receive competency-based certifications along with an associate degree and other certifications.
  3. Offering an economically feasible pathway to education in which employers provide tuition reimbursement and an increasing hourly wage for the duration of the training and apprenticeship.
  4. Allowing companies to “grow their own” employees and ensure their own professional competency standards by being directly involved in the training and skills formation process.

CICESS Basic Structures

  • First cohort started in the Fall of 2015 with 7 students at Illinois Central College (ICC)
  • Block-style training, alternating between multi-week blocks at the company and community college (progressively more training time at the company as training progresses)
  • Classroom and lab training provided by community college
  • Standardized curriculum developed by Carnegie Mellon University with funding from the Department of Homeland Security and adopted to meet industry requirements for secure software development
  • Contribution from participating companies to cover basic program costs (marketing of program, career fair participation, program administration, translation of program materials, etc.)

Employer Benefits

  • Better match between secure software development jobs and skills
  • High success rate in sourcing qualified candidates with the proven capabilities and competencies required for secure software development
  • High retention rates of skilled workers
  • Proven successful work-based learning model tailored to augment existing skills formation models to meet requirements defined by the industry

Job Seeker Benefits

  • Income earned while achieving competencies and certifications
  • Significantly improved chances of employment within the training firm upon program completion