Michigan College Receives $4M Grant to Educate Cyber Experts

Davenport University will use the grant from the National Science Foundation to provide 28 students with scholarships that cover their full-tuition, any education-related fees and living costs.

by Monica Scott, MLive.com / September 23, 2019
Davenport University has received a five-year, $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation TNS

(TNS) — Davenport University received a five-year, $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to train and educate cybersecurity experts as part of its CyberCorps\u00ae Scholarship for Service program, officials announced Thursday, Sept. 19.

Since 2011, Davenport University has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

“With a large number of open positions and growing security attacks, the need to strengthen and address the cybersecurity talent pipeline is more important than ever,” said Davenport University President Richard Pappas, in a press release.

“This grant validates the quality education Davenport University provides and the confidence the federal government has in our ability to deliver the talent needed to address one of our nation’s most pressing issues in cybersecurity.”

Davenport’s CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program provides junior and senior students full-tuition scholarships, living stipends and additional monies for professional development and other education-related fees. Students are guaranteed a job following graduation with the federal, state or local government.

Under the grant, this program led by Davenport’s Lonnie Decker and Mark McKinnon and Andrew Rozema, of Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC), will provide 28 students with scholarships that cover their full-tuition, any education-related fees and living costs.

In return, graduates are guaranteed a full-time cybersecurity role at a government entity. The scholarship covers the costs of a student’s junior or senior year at Davenport. It also extends coverage to sophomores at GRCC, a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

The university is accepting applications now. Those interested in learning more about the scholarship may visit its website.

The United States currently has a shortage of 300,000 cybersecurity practitioners, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

“Collaborating with community partners creates more opportunities for our students to gain in-demand skills in growing and evolving fields, including cybersecurity,” said GRCC President Bill Pink, in a press release.

Pink said the college is proud to be a partner with Davenport, the National Science Foundation and its local high schools to inspire the students of the future.

As part of the program, participating students mentor local high school students looking to pursue a career in cybersecurity.

Additionally, students will travel to a national cybersecurity conference and complete a paid summer internship with a federal, state, local or tribal government organization to further their learning in the cybersecurity field.

“Programs like this that support students in their career and educational pathways, lend a great hand to helping reach our goal of 60 percent of Michigan high school graduates earning a credential or degree after high school by 2030,” said Doug Ross, Gov. Whitmer’s Advisor on Economic Prosperity.

When students are supported on a path to earn these credentials, Ross said employers gain a highly-skilled talent pool to fill the 545,000 jobs coming open through 2026. He also said the state grows closer to filling the skills gap.

The median annual wage for information security analysts, who plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems, was $98,350 in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Between 2018 and 2028, employment of analysts was projected to grow 32 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Davenport is a private, nonprofit university that serves about 7,500 students at campuses across Michigan and online.

©2019 MLive.com, Walker, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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