CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Vice President Joe Biden announced a plan Thursday to award $25 million in funding to help train students who want to enter the field of cyber security.
Out of 16 institutions named as members of the Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline Consortium, eight are in South Carolina including the Claflin University and SC State.
The Charleston County School District is also part of the consortium and is the only K-12 district to be included.
"This is a tremendous honor... that CCCD would be named the only district in the nation to take part in grant program that will prepare our students to be on the cutting edge of cybersecurity," said Acting Superintendent Mr. Michael Bobby. "The field of cybersecurity, in light of recent events, is perhaps the most critically important field of discovery and education of our time."
The Palmetto State schools will be getting more than $16 million, according to officials with Congressman James E. Clyburn's office.
"The ability to offer students at these schools the opportunity to diversify their education in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, is invaluable," said Congressman Clyburn. " I have worked with the National Nuclear Security Administration to support math and science opportunities at HBCUs and this program continues those efforts. I am looking forward to seeing students at these institutions excel in this field and become the leaders for the next generation."
Officials at Claflin University, one of the seven colleges and universities from South Carolina on the list, said it would be receiving $2 million from the program.
"Claflin University will be at the forefront of producing cybersecurity professionals who will become a part of the workforce that will address such problems as the ones experienced by South Carolina's Social Security Administration in recent years and Sony during the holidays," said Dr. Verlie Tisdale, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics who will lead Claflin's efforts in this initiative.
For its part, Claflin will work with neighboring South Carolina State University to establish a joint teaching lab, upgrade existing labs and hire new faculty whose concentration is cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity curriculum will also be infused into existing computer programming courses at the University, and Claflin will develop a minor in cybersecurity.
Tisdale said Claflin University will enhance cybersecurity-related research and scholarly activities; provide professional development for faculty; provide K-12 outreach and pipeline development; provide K-12 teaching training and education; host student interns in its labs; provide advice on k-12 STEM development and activities; and participate in building cybersecurity awareness student, faculty, parents and the community.
According to a release from the White House, the money will come from the Department of Energy, specifically the Minority Serving Institutions Partnerships Program housed in its National Nuclear Security Administration, and will be dispersed over the next five years.
Biden made the announcement during a roundtable discussion with a classroom of cybersecurity leaders and students at Norfolk State University which is listed as the lead in the program.
Earlier this week, President Obama announced a need to tighten up cyber security by meeting the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals in the job market while diversifying employees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. It is for that reason the Historically Black Colleges and Universities make up the bulk of the consortium.
"The rapid growth of cybercrime is creating a growing need for cybersecurity professionals across a range of industries, from financial services, health care, and retail to the US government itself," the announcement notes. "By some estimates, the demand for cybersecurity workers is growing 12 times faster than the U.S. job market, and is creating well-paying jobs."
White House officials said the partnerships will create a system that lets students interested in a future in cybersecurity go through any of the collaborating partners and have everything they need to complete their career path and "open the doors to DOE sites and facilities."
The full list of participating consortium members are:
- Norfolk State University (lead)
- Clark Atlanta University
- Paine College
- North Carolina A&T State University
- Allen University
- Benedict College
- Claflin University
- Denmark Technical College
- Morris College
- South Carolina State University
- Voorhees College
- Charleston County School District
US Virgin Islands
- University of the Virgin Islands
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
- Sandia National Laboratories
Read the official White House Release HERE.