Newswise — The University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Forge Institute have partnered to strengthen the cybersecurity workforce development in Arkansas by providing academic credit for those who complete professional development courses in cybersecurity at the Forge Institute.

Under the terms of the recently signed collaboration agreement, UA Little Rock will award successful graduates of the Forge Institute’s IT/Cybersecurity Fundamentals certificate academic credit towards a bachelor’s degree in computer science or cybersecurity at UA Little Rock.

“This is truly an exciting and innovative opportunity for the IT workforce in Arkansas,” said Dr. Al Baker, chair of the Department of Computer Science at UA Little Rock. “I thank Forge Institute for providing invaluable advice as we have built our programs and curricula in cybersecurity in the Department of Computer Science. The partnership is strong and growing.”

Each institution has thoroughly reviewed the curriculum and mapped academic requirements to corresponding aspects of Forge Institute’s professional development program. 

The first Forge Institute course that is eligible for UA Little Rock course credit is IT/Cyber Fundamentals. Those participants who successfully complete the Forge Institute course can receive three hours of academic credit for CSEC 1310, Intro to Cybersecurity, which is a required course for the bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity.

“We are excited to further expand our partnership with Professor Philip Huff, Dr. Al Baker, Dr. Erin Finzer, and the team at UA Little Rock,” said Lee Watson, chairman and CEO of Forge Institute. “This rather unique relationship will further cement Arkansas as a leader in cybersecurity and help provide the skilled talent pipeline required by the private and public sector employers.”

UA Little Rock is designated an academic center of excellence by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“This is an exciting collaboration for us as we begin a new Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree in the fall,” said Philip Huff, professor of cybersecurity in the Department of Computer Science. “The overwhelming demand for cybersecurity professionals requires us to reimagine how we in higher education design our programs. This partnership between UA Little Rock and Forge Institute creates a two-way path between cybersecurity professionals and our cybersecurity degree program programs. We are working together to prepare students for an exciting and challenging profession.”

For more information, visit