Maricopa Community Colleges & EC-Council to Fortify Arizona Cybersecurity Workforce

Maricopa Colleges Unite with EC-Council to Fortify Arizona’s Cybersecurity Workforce

Colleges within the Maricopa Community College District partner with EC-Council to focus on cybersecurity certification credentialing and employment across the state of Arizona.

TAMPA, Fla. (May 7, 2024) – In an exciting development for the Maricopa Community College District, several colleges have joined forces with EC-Council through the Academic Partnership to offer comprehensive cybersecurity pathways with stackable credentials. These credentials include U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) accredited certifications, such as Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), to help shape the future of cybersecurity education and employment. This collaboration between the Maricopa Community Colleges and EC-Council reflects a commitment to address the growing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals in Arizona. This partnership provides students with additional opportunities and exam eligibility to pursue in-demand industry certifications as they complete their degree programs to become more competitive in the career field.

EC-Council’s certifications are recognized to align to 31 DoD Cyber Workforce Framework (DCWF) roles and EC-Council is committed to ensuring that their certifications align to the standards established by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) to ensure that students are exposed to needed skills and knowledge to pursue in-demand roles. By launching the Community College Scholarship Initiative (C2SI) in June of 2021, EC-Council’s Academia division aimed to make industry certifications more readily available to students preparing to enter the field by providing exam eligibility through more cost-effective content access.

Implementations Across the District:

The following schools within the Maricopa College Community College District currently offer
EC-Council certifications to their students:

Glendale Community College

Glendale Community College (Glendale CC), a pioneering member of this partnership, offers a wide range of EC-Council certifications. These include Network Defense Essentials (NDE), Ethical Hacking Essentials (EHE), and Digital Forensics Essentials (DFE) as part of the entry-level Essentials Series courses. They also offer the more advanced Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), and Certified SOC Analyst (CSA) certification programs. What sets Glendale Community College apart is their unique internship program that culminates with certification completion. This initiative ensures that students not only acquire the necessary skills, but also gain practical experience in a real-world cybersecurity environment, that enhances their chances of employability upon graduation.

Martin Bencic, Cybersecurity Instructor at Glendale Community College, states, “Glendale Community College (GCC) was at the crossroads of where to turn to for the curriculum for our program. I felt like our material was missing something and I was constantly looking for ways to improve what students were being taught so that they would graduate with real life, hands-on experience. GCC offers a very unique culminating opportunity for our students in the form of our Gaucho Security Operation Center (GSOC). This is a paid internship program in which students can earn $4,800 per semester working in our GSOC. We are partnering with rural communities in the state of Arizona to provide free monitoring, detecting and informing our client of potential vulnerabilities in their environment. The curriculum we needed had to be rigorous enough to provide the advanced level understanding of Operating Systems (Linux and Windows), networking concepts, and the ability to identify and resolve anomalies in these realms.

GCC is a Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity as approved by the National Security Agency (NSA). The process of becoming designated is a daunting and eye-opening experience. We had to conduct a very in-depth evaluation of our program in order to continuously evolve what and how we were training future workforces. GCC has been teaching cybersecurity for many years, and for the last seven years (while I was in charge of the program), I didn’t feel like the curriculum had a cohesive transition from one discipline to the next. We had several different vendors that we were using to get the students to the desired outcome, and I felt like we were falling short. I knew of EC-Council for many of those seven years, but the cost was beyond our students’ socio-economic abilities. I then heard about the C2SI scholarship program, that was all I needed to make the transition to EC-Council. We even implemented a couple of the Essentials Series courses into our Introduction to Cybersecurity Fundamentals class.

Certifications are necessary as a third-party confirmation of skills in the field of cybersecurity, but not just any certification will do. We wanted to offer the training and experience for students to qualify for the more advanced certifications like Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), and Certified SOC Analyst (CSA).

Since implementing EC-Council curriculum we are better positioned to provide our students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to qualify for the tier one SOC Analyst roles. EC-Council has changed our program’s curriculum short-comings and given us an opportunity to explore more advanced topics once we develop our bachelor’s in cybersecurity degree.

Chandler Gilbert Community College

Chandler Gilbert Community College has also taken a significant step towards making cybersecurity education more accessible. Through a grant program, they provide student vouchers to cover the costs of EC-Council certification exams like Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI). This financial support opens doors for aspiring cybersecurity professionals who may have otherwise found certification fees prohibitive.

Mizan Rahman, Cybersecurity Instructor and Program Contact describes their program by saying, “Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) is dedicated to serving the community and cultivating the skills needed for the workforce in Arizona. The CGCC cybersecurity program offers industry certifications as the final step for most of its core cyber courses, which provides students with the opportunity to better prepare for the workforce. CGCC not only provides hands-on experience, but also pays special attention to preparing students to enter the professional field with the knowledge gained in the classroom. Partnerships with organizations like EC-Council for the CEH and CHFI certifications offer excellent opportunities for students to showcase their experiences and demonstrate their capabilities to the industry through standardized tests. Moreover, CGCC’s test center is certified by EC-Council, which reduces costs for students and offers significant financial benefits to them.”

Paradise Valley Community College

Paradise Valley Community College has recently joined the Academia partnership and now offers training for the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) certifications, adding to the growing list of EC-Council offerings within the Maricopa Community College District.

Sean Petty, Dean of Career and Technical Education at Paradise Valley Community College states, “Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) is at the forefront of integrating real-world cybersecurity challenges into our academic curriculum. By incorporating EC-Council’s esteemed certifications like CEH and CHFI into our program, we are not just teaching cybersecurity; we are immersing our students in the complex digital landscapes that they will navigate in their careers. Our approach combines rigorous academic coursework with hands-on, practical experiences, ensuring our graduates are not only certified but truly prepared to meet the evolving demands of the cybersecurity field. This partnership exemplifies our dedication to empowering students with the skills and knowledge to excel in high-stakes environments, making them invaluable assets to any cybersecurity team from day one. At PVCC, we’re not just educating the next generation of cybersecurity professionals; we’re shaping the future of cyber resilience.”

Currently, 8 schools are partnered with EC-Council and allow interchangeable credits between the schools.

  • Chandler-Gilbert Community College
  • Estrella Mountain Community College
  • GateWay Community College
  • Glendale Community College
  • Mesa Community College
  • Paradise Valley Community College
  • Phoenix College
  • Scottsdale Community College

As the Academia Partnership expands and more colleges come on board, the future of cybersecurity education in Arizona looks brighter than ever.

About Maricopa Community College District

Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD), known popularly as Maricopa Community Colleges, can trace its origins to the establishment of Phoenix Junior College in 1920, the first community college in Arizona. Since then, it has evolved into one of the nation’s largest and most innovative community college systems, serving the Phoenix Metropolitan Area and beyond. Today, the bustling District includes 10 regionally accredited colleges and 31 satellite locations across Maricopa County, offering over 600 degree and certificate programs and educating over 100,000 students each year.

The genesis of the modern system began in 1960 when the state legislature voted to allow junior college districts in Arizona. Then, in 1962, county voters approved the establishment of the Maricopa County Junior College District, with the new system acquiring Phoenix Junior College. The following year, Dr. Robert J. Hannelly became the first president of the new junior college system. He would be followed by John Prince and then Al Flowers, who started as acting District President and then became its first Chancellor when the position’s title changed.

The district soon began its expansion by establishing Phoenix Junior College branch campuses in Glendale in 1962 and Mesa in 1963. By 1965, these two extension schools would become independent colleges within the system as Glendale Community College and Mesa Community College. Seven other community colleges with multiple campuses would be established over the next 40 years to serve the valley’s exploding population and thriving business needs.

About EC-Council

EC-Council, the inventor of Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification course and exam, has a mission to provide Cybersecurity education and certifications to students across the world to prepare them for their future careers. Founded in 2001, EC-Council offers over 20 different training programs and certifications – ranging from End-User Security to highly technical Penetration Testing to Information Security Management, and many other tactical courses. Recognized under the US Department of Defense 8140/8570 and an ISO/IEC 17024 Accredited Organization, EC-Council holds these and many other distinctions and accreditations by prestigious agencies worldwide – making EC-Council’s certification programs highly desirable and valued within the cybersecurity global communities. 

The EC-Council Academia partner program offers free partnership opportunities to academic institutions globally. These partnerships establish cybersecurity ecosystems through education that support students, alumni, faculty, employees, and the local communities at large. Through established partnerships, academic institutions can access extensive discounts on learning resources, technologies, and certifications, offering students opportunities to obtain stackable credentials to become more competitive as they enter the workforce. The program also focuses on initiating faculty development, scholarships, and cyber competitions. To date, EC-Council supports upwards of 2,000 education networks and institutions globally. EC-Council Academia works with academic institutions at all levels, including over 200 National Centers of Academic Excellences (N-CAEs) as designated by the National Security Agency, contributing to certify tens of thousands of students annually with industry-leading credentials. For more information on EC-Council Academia, please visit  


Mizan Rahman
Cybersecurity Instructor
[email protected]

Martin Bencic
Cybersecurity Instructor
Glendale Community College
[email protected]

Sean Petty
Interim Dean of Career and Technical Education
Paradise Valley Community College
[email protected]
(602) 787-6693

Wesley Alvarez
Director of Academics
[email protected]
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