A nearly $6 million federal grant will help Purdue University Northwest and a coalition of colleges across the country develop a national training program to fill shortages in the cybersecurity workforce.
The PNW College of Technology was awarded a grant of $5,971,053 for Cybersecurity Workforce Development from the National Security Agency. Purdue University Northwest has been a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, designated jointly by the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security since 2014.
Michael Tu, PNW professor of computer information technology and director of the center for cybersecurity was the lead principal investigator for the grant, while the co-principal investigators were Keyuan Jiang, professor and chair of the department of computer information technology and graphics, and Deborah Blades, college of technology director of industrial relations and experiential learning.
“Receiving this highly competitive grant award of cybersecurity workforce development is a strong indication of cybersecurity education at PNW and expertise of our computer information technology faculty. This award will help fill the gap of shortage of cybersecurity workforce in this country,” Jiang said.
The two-year grant allows PNW to serve as the lead institution to collaborate with Ivy Tech Community College, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, to develop a pilot artificial intelligence (AI)-Cybersecurity certification-based national training program for more than 425 transitioning military, first responders, and other adult trainees. The training program will be offered for free online to the trainees.
The coalition will develop a hands-AI-Cybersecurity curriculum with 12 courses divided into three tracks. Topics include Windows and Linux computer technologies, cloud technology, network, python programming, cybersecurity fundamentals, ethical hacking, hardware security, computer and mobile forensics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The training curriculum is expected to be mapped to existing courses in the cybersecurity programs at each participating institution, PNW said. This allows pathways to be created for trainees to pursue degree programs at PNW and through the other participating colleges.
During the second year of the grant, the three training tracks with 12 courses will be offered online to trainees who were recruited in year one and year two. Trainees are expected to take certification exams and to earn industry and government recognized certifications.
The Department of Labor projects the need for IT and cybersecurity professionals will grow 12% between 2018 and 2028.
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