July 31, 2017

Hawaii Receives More than $200,000 to Invest in Bolstering Cybersecurity Workforce

UHMC to develop comprehensive cybersecurity education and workforce development program

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) today announced that the University of Hawaii Maui College (UHMC) will receive $299,404 from the National Science Foundation to develop a comprehensive, industry-driven cybersecurity education and workforce development program.

“Today’s complex cyber threats require an educated workforce trained in preventing, detecting, and investigating potential attacks, system breaches, and other cyber threats,” said Senator Hirono. “Building on UHMC’s strong foundation of support for Hawaii’s future cybersecurity leaders, today’s funding will help ensure that Hawaii has the workforce it needs to meet 21st century security challenges and take advantage of global economic opportunities.”

As part of the program, UHMC will recruit undergraduate students from the UH community college system and other Hawaii institutions to build student exposure to and skillsets in cybersecurity.

“The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program has been instrumental in advancing cybersecurity education and workforce readiness in Hawaii,” said Dr. Debasis Bhattacharya, faculty at UHMC. “With this new NSF ATE grant, the University of Hawaii Maui College is able to prepare a new generation of Hawaii students to study cybersecurity and be prepared for new and exciting careers.”

Focused on preparing students for careers in information technology and cybersecurity, the program aims to increase the number of students who enroll in cybersecurity classes and graduate with a certificate or degree in cybersecurity at UHMC. It also seeks to increase the number of college faculty and high school teachers who teach cybersecurity topics. The program specifically focuses on increasing access for underrepresented minorities.

Senator Hirono has continued to advocate for federal funding to support programs that promote a strong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) pipeline, and earlier this year reintroduced her plan to improve diversity and competitiveness, and broaden participation among women and underrepresented minorities, in the STEM fields.

Senator Hirono visited Dr. Bhattacharya and the UHMC’s Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research last year as part of her Small Business Committee field hearing on Maui.