Assemblyman Schnall, Rep. Smith Attend Ribbon-Cutting At Cybersecurity Center

At a ceremony at Brookdale Community College today, Assemblyman Avi Schnall and Rep. Chris Smith joined Brookdale President Dr. David Stout, Monmouth County Commissioner Director Tom Arnone, Cyber Center Director Professor Michael Qaissaunee and other local officials, faculty, and students to mark the ribbon cutting for the College’s Center for Excellence.

The project—made possible in part by $439,456 in federal funds that Smith personally secured through a congressional earmark—included extensive renovations, new equipment and state-of-the-art technology that will enable Brookdale to expand its cybersecurity and technical education programs for students in a critical field of study.

“Thank you, Dr. Stout, for your leadership and commitment to Brookdale Community College,” said Smith, who delivered remarks at the ceremony on Brookdale’s main campus in Lincroft. “Your influence and more than 20 years of contributions to the school are many, and I am personally grateful for your dedication to education here in Monmouth County.”’

Smith also thanked Commissioner Director Tom Arnone and the entire Board of Commissioners for their dedication to building and growing Brookdale—which was ranked the best community college in New Jersey for the second year in a row—as a world class college.

“At all levels of government, we work daily to contain spending and direct our taxpayer funds to projects that are cost effective and will benefit our immediate communities and national goals,” said Smith. “The Center for Excellence for Cybersecurity Education is one of those projects that stands head and shoulders above others and is truly worthy of federal financial support.”

“For that reason, I was pleased to have authored the legislative earmark of $439,000 to the project and ensure that the federal government would be a contributing partner in this important endeavor,” Smith said.

The project included extensive renovations and building system upgrades to the existing Gorman Hall South—the 7,591 square-foot College-owned facility on Brookdale’s Lincroft campus—to support the CECE. In addition to two 25-seat classrooms, office space and a conference area, the Center is equipped with a high-performance security operations center.

“Cyber-attacks are not new—but they are growing almost exponentially in number and sophistication,” said Smith. “We have all seen the headlines of cyberattacks shutting down hospitals and businesses, sophisticated political ‘hacktivists’ targeting government agencies, banking network breaches, as well as spyware, ransomware and other forms of cyber-criminality intended to disrupt our economy, security, freedom and our way of life.”

“Today—more than ever—individuals, businesses, organizations and governments here and around the world need expertly trained cybersecurity professionals to protect sensitive data and systems, and to defend against malicious attacks that could compromise privacy and safety,” Smith said.

According to data from Cyber Seek, there are currently more than 572,000 cybersecurity job openings across the United States, including over 13,930 in New Jersey alone.

“As a Department of Homeland Security and NSA-designated National Center of Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, Brookdale has a strong history of exceptional training to support the cybersecurity ecosystem, and this new center will not only help to advance the College’s cybersecurity training efforts; it will help to train up a new generation of ‘super cyber cops’ to defend our information systems, infrastructure, cloud computing capabilities and networks,” said Smith.

“Make no mistake about it—this is life-changing work, and we cannot be more grateful that Brookdale is leading the way,” Smith said.

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