AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - A $65 million grant is helping expand manufacturing throughout Georgia. The Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center is working with small to medium sized business and manufacturers to help them improve their defenses when it comes to cyber security.

The Georgia Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing grant program is tailored to aiding underserved manufacturing businesses in development.

"It is a wonderful process that allows manufacturers an opportunity where they may have not have thought they could afford such a service," John McLain, Project Lead for the Georgia AIM Grant says. "But, to give them the opportunity to have a staff come in that is well versed in cyber security and a seasoned team.”

John McLain, the project lead for the grant, says they've helped companies like King Signs, Stuckey's and Coastal Processing.

“The actual site assistant visits that we do, if a company were to pay for them just on the economy, it would be anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000," McLain says. "So, it’s really a value add for small to medium size manufactures in the state of Georgia.”

According to Verizon, 60% of businesses that suffer a cyber attack go out of business within six months.

“The entry to get into being a hacker is so inexpensive now," McLain says. "You have a 14 year old with some red bull and hot pockets and $200 and they can buy the tools to ruin your business.”

As they continue the grant through 2025, they are seeking more businesses to continue providing service.

“We’re not trying to sell a product, we’re not trying to get you to buy our services, we’re sincerely coming in as an independent third party to help," he says.

The Georgia Cyber Center has been funded to 44 more manufacturing businesses. It's a first come, first serve basis. If you want to learn more, scan the QR code to register.

Georgia AIM

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