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Helping communities across the country meet their cyber workforce needs through K-12 STEM, Cyber and Computer Science Education

 The Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) and its academic outreach division, the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), have been awarded a second five-year grant from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The grant continues NICERC’s development and distribution of a scalable educational materials for teaching the next-generation, cyber-literate workforce. This opportunity provides $4.3 million in funding for the first year, with a total expected value of $21.5 million over the next five years. This multi-million-dollar, multi-year opportunity designates NICERC as the lead technical institution for DHS’s Cybersecurity Educational efforts.

Since 2013, NICERC’s classroom materials and teacher training were utilized by 12,850 teachers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NICERC solidified partnerships with 21 state departments of education and industry partners such as Girl Scouts USA, CenturyLink and Palo Alto Networks. These efforts and partnerships have impacted 2,182,001 students across the country!

With the resources provided by DHS, NICERC will build upon its foundation and expand its cyber, STEM and computer science programs to more than 60,000 teachers and seven million students. “NICERC is poised to introduce millions of more students across the country to the opportunities in cyber-based degrees and careers,” said Kevin Nolten, the CIC’s Director of Academic Outreach. Nolten adds, “The demand for a cyber-literate workforce is monumental both in northern Louisiana and across the country; NICERC has the sustainable and systemic solution that starts in K-12 education.”

The Louisiana Congressional Delegation’s strong support of cybersecurity has also contributed to the success of these efforts.

“The importance of cybersecurity increases every year. It is crucial that the next generation of workers understands the cybersecurity threats we face and is motivated to find solutions,” said Senator John Kennedy (R-LA). “As a member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, I have seen the success of the partnership between the DHS and Cyber Innovation Center in accomplishing this, and I am proud that this partnership continues to grow and flourish.”

“It’s great the DHS and Cyber Innovation Center partnership continues to grow,” said Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA). “These grants give students the tools for a successful future career in protecting our national and economic security from cyber threats.”

Though the CIC’s educational programs span across the country, local school districts, such as Bossier Parish School Board, continue to benefit from this valuable work. “We are proud of our partnership with the Cyber Innovation Center and their innovative approach to connecting our students to real-world applications in cyber as well as cutting edge degree and career opportunities,” said Scott Smith, Superintendent of Bossier Parish Schools. Smith adds, “Our goal is for Bossier to be the top performing district in Louisiana, and the CIC is an important partner in achieving that goal.”