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Governor McAuliffe announces funding for cybersecurity priorities in next biennial budget

Governor-McAuliffeGovernor Terry McAuliffe announced Wednesday that his two-year budget will include significant funding to boost Virginia’s cybersecurity industry through strategic educational investments. Governor McAuliffe made the announcement at the Commonwealth Conference on Cyber and Education at Northern Virginia Community College’s Woodbridge Campus,

“I am committed to building the new Virginia economy, and cybersecurity education is a key component. I created the Cyber Commission to analyze how we can better prepare for the 21st century economy through a stronger focus on the fast-growing cybersecurity sector. Per its guidance, I will invest in an innovative cyber range and provide funding so that more of our higher education institutions can become designated as Centers for Academic Excellence. I will also invest in cyber scholarships and apprenticeship models,” said Governor McAuliffe.

The Governor’s cybersecurity investments will include:

  • Investments to enhance individuals’ practical skills for entering the cyber workforce.
  • Scholarships for service will give students two years of tuition assistance in return for two years of public service upon graduation. If approved, Virginia will be the first state in the nation to do so on the state level.
  • Cyber apprenticeship models will allow students to transfer between school and the workforce to gain real-world experience in the cyber field.
  • An innovative cyber range that will provide high school and college students a virtual, secure platform to enhance their cyber skills. The range will enable the Commonwealth to provide training on cyberattack detection and defense, to develop cyber certifications, to encourage collaboration within the industry, to conduct research, and to offer training for active duty military and veterans.
  • Funding to increase the number of Centers for Academic Excellence in Virginia. Centers for Academic Excellence (CAE) are certified universities and colleges that meet national standards for cybersecurity training. Northern Virginia Community College was the first two-year institution in Virginia to be named a Center for Academic Excellence. Early last month, Lord Fairfax Community College became the second community college to earn this important distinction. Additional community colleges are applying this January to be Centers of Academic Excellence. Funding in the budget will enable the Governor to pursue his goal for all 23 of Virginia’s community colleges to achieve this recognition. The budget also includes funding for the faculty, staff and programming needed to assist four-year institutions as they seek this national recognition. So far, eight four-year institutions in Virginia, both public and private, have this designation.

“Building a quality talent pipeline is paramount in developing Virginia as the nation’s cybersecurity leader. All of today’s proposed budget investments will contribute directly to the Commonwealth’s ability to meet industry needs,” said Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson.

“This unique Education and Cyber conference has brought together stakeholders from across the Commonwealth to develop solutions and share ideas, and I am thrilled that this crucial work will continue,” said Secretary of Education Anne Holton. “Today, we have taken a dramatic first step in making sure we are providing our students with the skills and training they need to fill the cutting-edge cybersecurity jobs of the 21st century.”

On December 17th Governor McAuliffe will formally announce the biennial budget. Key investments will include K-12 education, economic development and veterans.