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WCTC redesignated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD)

1703 IT NET Lab 14

PEWAUKEE, Wis. (Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022) – Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) has been redesignated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through 2027.

WCTC initially earned the designation, originally called the CAE-2Y, for the five-year period of 2017-2022 and was the first college or university in Wisconsin to earn the honor. Since then, four other higher education institutions in the state have earned the CAE-CD.

With this designation, colleges and universities are formally recognized for their exceptional cybersecurity-related programs. They have undergone an in-depth assessment and have met rigorous requirements, and they are well-equipped to provide students with critical knowledge and skills needed to serve in roles that protect and defend against cyber threats. WCTC curricular offerings and other activities were reviewed in detail as part of the application process, said Mike Boerschinger, WCTC Information Technology (IT) instructor, and nine courses within the IT-Cybersecurity Specialist program are mapped to DHS and NSA cybersecurity education standards.

“Your ability to meeting the increasing demands of the program criteria will serve the nation well in contributing to the protection of the National Information Infrastructure,” said Karen Leushner, National CAE program manager for the NSA, in a letter to WCTC.

Cyndi Kaye Lambach, DBA-ISERM, associate dean of IT at WCTC, said the designation is an honor and sets WCTC apart from other colleges.

“This recognition is not only for the cybersecurity programs, but also for WCTC. This makes us a recognized school in cybersecurity at the highest level,” she said.

Added Boerschinger: “Being recognized by those two groups – the NSA and Department of Homeland Security – is the gold standard.”

WCTC’s IT-Cybersecurity Specialist associate degree program began in 2017 with 65 students, and for the 2021-22 academic year, 212 students are enrolled. Students have held internships and jobs at Aurora Health Care, GE, Kohl’s Corporate, Foot Locker, River Run Computers, Batteries and Bulbs among others, and they have worked in roles such cybersecurity specialists, network analyst, security threat analyst and others. The College also offers a Cybersecurity technical certificate.

“When you look at cybersecurity, it transcends IT. Cybersecurity is in every business,” Boerschinger said, adding WCTC graduates are well trained and ready for the workforce. “WCTC’s IT-Cybersecurity programs prepare the next generation of cyber defenders, as proven by the success of our graduates,” Boerschinger said. “Our graduates are highly sought after by employers and have landed excellent positions in the IT cybersecurity workforce after WCTC.”

To learn more about WCTC’s information technology programs, including those in cybersecurity, visit

About Waukesha County Technical College

Waukesha County Technical College, the leader in workforce development, prepares learners for success within the region and global economy. The College offers more than 150 areas of study including associate degree, technical diploma, apprenticeship and short-term certificate programs. Customized training for employers is also available. To learn more, visit