Rep. Hank Johnson introduces legislation to secure cybersecurity grants funding for HBCUs

October 15, 20216min4670
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Hank Johnson

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04), Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, introduced the Cybersecurity Opportunity Act to fund a cybersecurity grant education program at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions.

The Cybersecurity Opportunity Act would direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to award at least 50 percent of existing cybersecurity grants to HBCUs for five years for increasing research, education, technical, partnership, and innovation capacity.

This legislation would help strengthen cybersecurity and contribute to a more diverse workplace by giving the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) authority to make grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) to promote cybersecurity education and research.

“Recent, unprecedented cyberattacks like the SolarWinds and Colonial Pipeline breaches demonstrate the urgency of solving the national cybersecurity workforce and funding shortages,” said Rep. Johnson. “And it’s not just enough to throw more money and workers at the problem. We must include more women and minorities, so we are maximizing all the tech talent our country has to offer.”

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff (GA) introduced the companion in the Senate this summer.

“This 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. “I thank Congressman Hank Johnson for his co-authorship of this bill and his ongoing effort to secure House passage of the Cybersecurity Opportunity Act.”

Cybersecurity Opportunity Act 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 would 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.

In addition to directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to award at least 50 percent of existing cybersecurity grants to HBCUs for five years, the Cybersecurity Opportunity Act would increase research, education, technical, partnership, and innovation capacity, including:

  • Building and upgrading institutional capacity to better support new or existing cybersecurity programs, including cybersecurity partnerships with public and private entities.
  • Building and upgrading institutional capacity to provide hands-on research and training experiences for undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Outreach and recruitment to ensure students are aware of such new or existing cybersecurity programs, including cybersecurity partnerships with public and private entities.

“Rapid upskilling in cybersecurity with in-demand employable and entrepreneurial technical, software engineering and sales skills for all Americans, including Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities, is a matter of our collective national security, upward mobility and path to multi-generational wealth in the fourth industrial revolution.” said Rodney Sampson, Executive Chairman & CEO, Opportunity Hub and Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution. “OHUB and our aggregate of distributed and decentralized partnering bootcamps are supportive of Congressman Johnson’s Cybersecurity Opportunity Act and remain committed to increasing our partnerships with Minority Serving Institutions, including our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, to deliver these industry specific skills to complement their pedagogical innovation to ensure their service to minority communities in America and beyond.”

“This legislation would also provide the impetus for our cybersecurity workforce to expand and become more diverse while supporting institutions on their path to producing qualified entrants in the cybersecurity workforce and becoming a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity,” said Rep. Johnson. “We’re engaged in a cyber war, and we need all hands-on deck – HBCUs are doing some of the most sophisticated, technologically advanced work in our nation and we need to tap into and fully support those institutions to help us win this battle.”

Current Co-Sponsors (40): Reps. Sanford Bishop, Karen Bass, Deborah K. Ross, Ritchie Torres, Dina Titus, André Carson, Donald M. Payne, Jr., Pete Aguilar, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Yvette D. Clarke Sheila Jackson Lee, David N. Cicilline, Val Butler Demings, Kweisi Mfume, Gwen Moore, Bonnie Watson Coleman, William R. Keating, Nikema Williams, Alma S. Adams, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Jim Costa, Marc A. Veasey, Steven Horsford, Robin L. Kelly, Ruben Gallego, Barbara Lee, Bennie Thompson, Frederica S. Wilson, Al Lawson, Lucy McBath, Marilyn Strickland, Emanuel Cleaver, Dwight Evans, Steve Cohen, G.K. Butterfield, Mike Quigley, Joseph D. Morelle, Colin Allred, Al Green, Ro Khanna.

Endorsing Organizations: Morehouse College, Paine College, Fort Valley State University, Savannah State University, Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Georgia State University, Clark Atlanta University, Opportunity Hub.

 

To read the bill, click HERE.

 

 

 

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