NEWS: Sen. Ossoff, Rep. Johnson’s Bipartisan Bill to Boost Cybersecurity Job Training at HBCUs Signed into Law

TV STATIONS: TV-quality footage of Sen. Ossoff talking about passage of the bill

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

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

Georgia’s HBCU leaders celebrate bill being signed into law

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff’s bipartisan legislation to boost cybersecurity job training programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) was signed into law.

Sen. Ossoff and Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04)’s bipartisan Cybersecurity Opportunity Act creates 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.

The bill, which was signed into law today 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,” Sen. Ossoff said. 

“Now that this critical bill has finally been signed into law, HBCUs, their students, Georgia and our entire economy will reap the rewards of a more diverse, better-educated workforce that is more capable of protecting us against 21st-century threats,”said Rep. Johnson.  

“It is vitally important that we do everything we can to increase the numbers of minorities in science. Scientists solve humanity’s problems – and minorities in the United States have historically had limited access to the tools that will enable them to be a more representative part of this effort,” Dr. David Satcher said. “We have the opportunity to do a better job much earlier in the development of the relatively new field of cybersecurity. I am honored that Senator Ossoff and Congressman Johnson chose to attach my name to this crucial initiative.”

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).

“Cybersecurity training is one of the most necessary skills needed heading into the future as we see an increase in cybercrimes, putting private information, energy dependability, and national security at risk,” said Sen. Tillis. “This legislation will open new doors and opportunities for students at HBCUs, including the thousands of talented students at HBCUs in North Carolina, that they otherwise would not have had. I am proud of our work on this bipartisan bill, and I applaud the president for signing it into law.”

The House bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Sanford Bishop (GA-02), Nikema Williams (GA-05), Lucy McBath (GA-06), Karen Bass (CA-37), Deborah K. Ross (NC-02), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Dina Titus (NV-01), André Carson (IN-07), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Pete Aguilar (CA-31), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Val Demings (FL-10), Kweisi Mfume (MD-07), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), William R. Keating (MA-09), Alma S. Adams (NC-12), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Jim Costa (CA-16), Marc A. Veasey (TX-33), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Robin L. Kelly (IL-02), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Bennie Thompson (MS-02), Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Steve Cohen (TN-09), G.K. Butterfield (NC-01), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Joseph D. Morelle (NY-25), Colin Allred (TX-32), Al Green (TX-09), and Ro Khanna (CA-17).

HBCU leaders across Georgia celebrated the bill being signed into law:

“Congratulations to Senator Ossoff and his colleagues on the passage of the Dr. David Satcher Cybersecurity Education Grant Program, which will create greater diversity in the important and growing field of cybersecurity and offer more opportunities to students at liberal arts colleges who want to pursue careers in cybersecurity,” said Dr. Helene Gayle, President of Spelman College. “This program, named after one of my closest long-time mentors, will increase research, education, technical, partnership, and innovation capacity for cybersecurity programs, research, and training experiences in an area that now touches every aspect of our lives. As a college whose mission is to educate the next generation of young women of African descent, I am enthusiastic about the many doors of opportunity this program will open to student populations that have been underrepresented in the cybersecurity sector.”

“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,” said David A. Thomas, Ph.D., Morehouse College President. “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.”

“We are grateful to Senator Ossoff for his support of HBCUs and increasing opportunities for students to work in the cybersecurity field and applaud his bipartisan Cybersecurity Opportunity Act being signed into law,” 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.”

“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 from 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.”

“Producing more STEM majors and graduates with cybersecurity training is a national security imperative. As Chair of the 19 Universities that comprise the 1890 HBCU Land Grant Institutions, we have made it a system-wide priority to focus on rebuilding our infrastructure and addressing our deferred maintenance so we can take advantage of opportunities like the “Dr. David Satcher Cybersecurity Education Grant Program.” I want to thank Senator Ossoff for his work on this important effort and look forward to continuing to work with him and his colleagues on future endeavors,” said Dr. Paul Jones, President, Fort Valley State University and Chair, 1890 Council of Land Grant Universities.

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