WASHINGTON, D.C. (WFXG) - On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to boost cybersecurity job training programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The bipartisan bill, proposed by Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-01), 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 grant will 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 in Georgia and nationwide.

The bill is part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 and require that half 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,” said Sen. Ossoff.

Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) introduced the companion legislation in the U.S. House. “The cybersecurity sector continues to rapidly expand, which is why diversifying our pool of talent and expertise is essential – and where better to draw upon existing talent than our Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said Congressman Johnson (GA-04), Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. “I’m proud to have partnered with Sen. Ossoff on passage of this bill, and through our combined efforts, this legislation will expand training programs at HBCUs to help boost our nation’s cybersecurity defenses and equally important, advance equity in hiring.”

Paine College President Dr. Cheryl Evans Jones says, “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. 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.”

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