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Sen. Ossoff Working to Pass Bipartisan Bill to Fund Cybersecurity Training at HBCUs

Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan bill will create the “Dr. David Satcher Cybersecurity Education Grant Program” to fund cybersecurity education and boost job opportunities

Bill passed unanimously out of Homeland Security Committee in August

Georgia HBCU leaders praise Sen. Ossoff’s legislation

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is working to pass his bipartisan legislation to fund cybersecurity job training at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan Cybersecurity Opportunity Act, which passed the key U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee in August, will create the “Dr. David Satcher Cybersecurity Education Grant Program,” named after the former U.S. Surgeon General and Morehouse School of Medicine Dean.

The Satcher Grants will expand cybersecurity training programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other colleges and universities that serve a high proportion of Pell Grant recipients in Georgia and nationwide.

Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan bill requires that 50% of funds must go to HBCUs and minority serving institutions in order to support greater diversity and equality of opportunity in the cybersecurity field.

“My legislation will expand America’s cybersecurity workforce to protect our nation from hackers and support diversity and equality of opportunity in the cybersecurity profession by expanding training programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said Sen. Ossoff.

HBCU leaders across Georgia praised Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan legislation:

“Morehouse College strongly supports the passage of the bipartisan Cybersecurity Opportunity Act authored by Senator Jon Ossoff and sponsored by Senators Thom Tillis, Tim Scott, and Angus King,” 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.”

Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan bill is co-sponsored by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tim Scott (R-SC), Angus King (I-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ).

“As cyberattacks become a growing threat, our colleges must provide training so our students can tackle and overcome our nation’s pressing cybersecurity challenges,” said Sen. Tillis. “This legislation will expand cybersecurity training programs at HBCUs, helping to create a more resilient, highly-skilled workforce pipeline of cybersecurity talent in North Carolina.”

“HBCUs are pioneers in educating and producing leaders prepared to take on our nation’s greatest challenges,” said Sen. Scott. “As we face growing and adversarial cyber threats from around the globe, the Cybersecurity Opportunity Act will allow students at HBCUs to play an integral role in ensuring our homeland and our cyber infrastructure remains secure.”

“Every day, cyberattacks on American institutions threaten our government, our economy, and our national security,” said Sen. King. “The problem will only grow more severe in the years ahead, which is why we need to take immediate steps to strengthen our cyber workforce. This bipartisan legislation will strengthen cybersecurity job training at America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, creating opportunities for students in a growing field and providing an infusion of talented young people into this increasingly-vital profession.”

Click here to read the Cybersecurity Opportunity Act.

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