BUFFALO—Erie Community College and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) honored its first class of graduates from their Homeland Security training partnership on June 17 with a ceremony held at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is partnering with community colleges to provide the airport staffs throughout the nation the opportunity to work toward a TSA Certificate of Achievement in Homeland Security and/or Associates Degree in Homeland Security or a related field. The TSA launched the program in 2008—with airports and community colleges in locations like Baltimore, San Antonio and Washington, D.C.—to determine the best approach to educating employees while causing minimal interruption to their work schedule. In spring 2013, ten new airports joined the Associates Program including Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BUF) along with its college partner, Erie Community College. In its first year, ECC honored 10 program grads with a TSA Certificate of Achievement, and has encouraged all to use their credits toward either an associate's or bachelor's degree.
Only 16 percent of TSA screeners have an associate's degree or higher. With this program, TSA officers are exposed to college-level education; how it helps improve their job performance; teaches them about the history of and need for Homeland Security; and motivates them to continue their education.
As of spring 2014 there are 152 airports with 89 partner colleges participating in the program. There are currently over 4,700 students enrolled nationally.
Since 1946, Erie Community College has met the needs of a diverse student body while contributing to the economic vitality of Western New York. As a member of the state's SUNY system, the three-campus college provides flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in an accommodating academic environment. Equipped with the knowledge of these programs, ECC's faculty, staff and students strive to enrich their host communities through skill, service and partnership.