The National Security Agency (NSA) has awarded Ohio-based Wright State University a $704,000 grant to help in the creation of a new cybersecurity training program for students in community colleges and other underrepresented groups.
The grant is being offered as part of the National Pathway to Success program, which aims to provide professional and leadership opportunities for underserved communities.
The funding award also will allow Wright State to collaborate with other educational institutions across the country that share similar aims.
Fathi Amsaad, Ph.D., assistant professor at Wright State and lead of the new training program, talked about the substantial impact that this program can have on ushering in the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.
“We aim to educate and train community college students and prepare them as a workforce to protect our national security against new cybersecurity attacks targeting our military, businesses, critical infrastructure, and intelligent system applications,” said Amsaad.
The National Pathway to Success program will introduce students to various fields of cybersecurity, including but not limited to software protection, artificial intelligence-enabled cybersecurity, and hardware-oriented security for system verification.
As part of the program, Wright University will work with institutions within the National Centers of Academic Excellence (NCAE) to support community college students, female students, first-generation college students, and Native Americans.
The focus is to be able to plant seeds within communities that have historically been left out of the cyber and tech fields, while simultaneously giving them the rigor and training they need to thrive in the industry.
“We will develop a relevant curriculum to increase cybersecurity awareness and engagement among minority community college students about core academic and technical skills, recognized post-secondary credentials, and academic degrees that provide participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to gain employment in high-skill, high-wage and in-demand fields,” stated Amsaad.
The grant will fund the program for two years, with the potential existing for a third year of funding after that.