BREAKING: U.S. Senate Passes Sen. Ossoff, Rep. Johnson’s Bipartisan Bill to Boost Cybersecurity Job Training at HBCUs

Bipartisan bill will create the “Dr. David Satcher Cybersecurity Education Grant Program” to boost cybersecurity education and boost job opportunities

50% of funds must go to HBCUs, tribal and minority serving institutions

Sens. Ossoff, Rounds previously urgedSenate leadership to include bill in final CHIPS Act

Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Senate today passed U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff’s bipartisan legislation to boost cybersecurity job training programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Sen. Ossoff and Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04)’s bipartisan Cybersecurity Opportunity Act will establish the “Dr. David Satcher Cybersecurity Education Grant Program,” named after the former U.S. Surgeon General and Morehouse School of Medicine Dean, to expand cybersecurity training programs at HBCUs, tribal institutions, minority-serving institutions and other colleges and universities that serve a high proportion of Pell Grant recipients in Georgia and nationwide.

The bill, which passed as part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, requires that 50% of Satcher grant funds must go to HBCUs, tribal, and minority serving institutions in order to support greater diversity and equality of opportunity in the cybersecurity field.

“This has been a long time coming, and it’s a big win for Georgia’s HBCUs and for cybersecurity in Georgia and nationwide,”said Sen. Ossoff.

The Senate bill was co-sponsored by Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tim Scott (R-SC), Angus King (I-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), and John Boozman (R-AR).

Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) introduced the companion legislation in the U.S. House.

“The cybersecurity sector continues to rapidly expand, which is why diversifying our pool of talent and expertise is essential – and where better to draw upon existing talent than our Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said Congressman Johnson (GA-04), Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet.“I’m proud to have partnered with Sen. Ossoff on passage of this bill, and through our combined efforts, this legislation will expand training programs at HBCUs to help boost our nation’s cybersecurity defenses and equally important, advance equity in hiring.”

HBCU leaders across Georgia praised Sen. Ossoff and Rep. Johnson’s bill:

“Morehouse College strongly supports the passage of the bipartisan Cybersecurity Opportunity Act authored by Senator Jon Ossoff,” said David A. Thomas, Ph.D., Morehouse College President. “The legislation not only reflects the critical importance of protecting the nation’s digital infrastructure, but it also recognizes the irreplaceable value of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in preparing an analytically adept and highly-educated workforce to address emergent challenges. Like the innovative Morehouse alumnus for whom the ‘Dr. David Satcher Cybersecurity Education Grant Program’ will be named, our students and graduates have the skills, ingenuity, drive, and expertise to shape our technological future.”

“As we know and have seen in recent months, cybersecurity is critical whether technology is used in private industry or government. Strong training programs at our nation’s HBCUs can play a major role in the development, education, and training of a diverse and innovative workforce of cybersecurity professionals,” said Dr. Cheryl Evans Jones, President of Paine College. “The legislation proposed by Senator Ossoff will be a tremendous boost in developing, expanding, and strengthening cybersecurity programs at HBCUs to meet the growing needs of the field. This is particularly true of HBCUs such as Paine College in Augusta, Georgia as Augusta is a leader in cybersecurity with nearby Fort Gordon as the home of the U.S. Army Signal School, the U.S. Cyber Center of Excellence, and the U.S. Army Cyber Command.”

“As a land-grant institution, we would benefit greatly from Sen. Ossoff’s Cybersecurity Opportunity Act. This monumental legislation would allow us to leverage our outreach mission to provide support for and boost cybersecurity infrastructure and train the workforce of tomorrow. We thank Sen. Ossoff for his work on behalf of Fort Valley State and all HBCUs and call on Congress to pass this bill,” said Dr. Paul Jones, President of Fort Valley State University.

“We are grateful to Senator Ossoff and the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security for their support of HBCUs and increasing opportunities for students to work in the cybersecurity field,” Savannah State University President Kimberly Ballard-Washington said. “Our College of Sciences Technology is the only HBCU in the region to offer ABET accredited engineering technology programs and a Bachelor of Science in computer science technology with a cybersecurity track and we are excited to grow this new program. The ‘Dr. David Satcher Cybersecurity Education Grant Program’ will directly impact Savannah State’s ability to graduate more students prepared to enter a global workforce, meeting the cybersecurity needs in all business sectors.”

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