Information Communication Technologies & Digital Media Sector Team

Of the 14 colleges with CAE designation in California, six are community colleges, and four have received certification within the last year. The following colleges have earned CAE designations:

LA/Orange County:

Cypress College

Coastline Community College

Long Beach City College

Bay Area:

City College of San Francisco

Ohlone College

Greater Sacramento Region:

Sierra College

Each designation requires many hours to prepare an application, said Shawn Monsen, IT/Cybersecurity Subject Matter Specialist for the ICT-DM Sector and Professor at Sierra College. “Although it’s a lot of work, the designation is worth the effort because it provides funding for scholarships and other programs.”

Monsen believes that the key to success in California is that CSSIA and CyberWatch West provided funding for mentors and mentees to go through the application process. “Honestly, I don’t think I could have done it without my mentor,” he said.

Cybersecurity remains one of the most pressing concerns facing both the public and private sectors. There are thousands of open positions across California, and community colleges play a crucial role in filling those employment gaps.

The National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) program, co-sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was established to meet this growing need for knowledgeable and skilled cybersecurity professionals within the Federal Government – and ultimately, within state and local governments and industry.

Drawing upon the success of the existing designations, ICT-DM Statewide Director Steve Wright and his sector team are planning a webinar in the spring to help colleges understand the application process and the benefits that come with a designation.

Their ultimate goal is to see one CAE-designated college in each region of the state, Monsen said.

“It makes sense for colleges to do this because students benefit from it,” Monsen said. “The more colleges that have it, the more students benefit from those opportunities like reduced cost of study.”

For more information about the CAE designation, visit

Skip to content