The Cyber Innovation Center (CIC), headquartered in Bossier City, Louisiana, received a $3 million continuation grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on September 18, 2015. The fiscal year 2015 grant supports the continued, nationwide expansion of the CIC’s cybersecurity education and training model, which was designed to educate and inspire teachers and students alike about the social and technical aspects of cyberspace, cyber-citizenship, information technology, and security. “We have developed a robust capability that empowers teachers to engage their students in entirely new ways. Through our cyber education and training model, we will reach over 2 million students and 15,000 teachers by 2020 – significantly expanding the cyber interstate and the number of cybersecurity professionals entering the U.S. workforce,” says G.B. Cazes, Vice President of the Cyber Innovation Center.
By partnering with universities, colleges, high schools, and middle schools, the CIC enables communities across the U.S. to implement cybersecurity focused education and professional development programs to produce highly skilled, knowledge-based workers. These programs expand awareness of cybersecurity issues, explore and encourage cybersecurity career paths, and provide training and education on technical elements of cybersecurity that will ultimately help DHS address the growing cyber threat to public and private networks and infrastructure.
The CIC has received numerous letters of support for its cybersecurity programs from partners and communities across the country. Jerry Almendarez, Superintendent of Colton Unified School District in San Bernardino, CA, said, “CIC’s library of curricula and training programs has an impact on the students in our school districts that is colossal. Through our partnership together, we are opening the doors to a plethora of cybersecurity opportunities for the students in this community.”
The CIC’s replicable, teacher-focused, cybersecurity education and training model was created to empower teachers and transform the classroom into a dynamic learning environment through project-driven learning. “Our approach to integrated curriculum and emphasis on teacher professional development is what makes our program so unique,” says Kevin Nolten, CIC’s Director of Academic Outreach for its National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center. The CIC’s cyber curriculum is being implemented in K-12 schools across the country and continues to expand through an extensive network of partners and contributors.
The strong support of the Louisiana Delegation has also contributed to the continued success of these efforts. This year, Senator Bill Cassidy was directly involved in securing legislation that highlighted the national need for cybersecurity education and provided related funding. “Communities across the country will be able to take advantage of the cyber training programs created at the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier,” said Senator Cassidy. “As a member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, I understand the cybersecurity risks facing families, businesses and the threats to our national security. The Cyber Innovation Center has been a leader in this field for years, and I am proud that the DHS has once again chosen the CIC as a partner in its education efforts.”