The Department of Defense has announced Northampton Community College (NCC) will be part of a cooperative agreement under the National Defense Education Program (NDEP) to foster the development of Two-Year Institution/Community College (2YI/CC) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. NCC will take part in the Collaborative Pennsylvania-wide Community College Consortium for Enhancing STEM and Cybersecurity Education. The consortium will receive an initial award of $5 million over a three-year base period, with the possibility of three one-year option periods at $2 million per year, totaling an award ceiling of up to $11 million over six years.  

Six institutions will work in partnership with NCC to enhance STEM education across Pennsylvania with special emphasis on cybersecurity. The program’s main goal is to increase completion rates of certificate training programs that strengthen the workforce and increase the rate of students transitioning from community colleges to STEM degrees at 4-year colleges, particularly amongst students from underrepresented groups. 

Dr. Farah Bennani, Inaugural STEM Dean and PI on the grant shared, “I have always been committed to the inclusion and the rightful presence of underprepared and underserved students. This project will focus on establishing a recruitment pipeline of minority and underserved students from NCC feeder high schools and a series of marketing and outreach efforts to increase student awareness of STEM and Cybersecurity careers. This will bridge the gap between non-credit and credit programs, increase STEM programs and cybersecurity certificate completion rates, and improve transfer rates to four-year institutions and job attainment in the STEM field as aligned with the Department of Defense goals. This project is well aligned with NCC’s strategic goals, which include a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in making sure education (particularly STEM) is accessible to everyone, is diverse and attainable by each and every student.” 

NCC’s consortium partners are Montgomery Community College, Bucks County Community College, Butler County Community College, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, Westmoreland County Community College, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) as the lead. IUP will provide overall leadership and management of the consortium, as well as coordinates overarching efforts. 
 
Each Consortium will collaboratively work with the DoD to carry out the STEM mission to inspire, cultivate, and develop exceptional STEM talent to enrich our current and future DoD workforce.