The training program will make possible the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), a federal-state partnership created in 2000 by Congress to promote economic development of the lower Mississippi Delta and the Black Belt of Alabama. The DRA had awarded Nicholls State University $150,000 to establish the cyber-defence training program.
Nicholls will create a sustainable program that expands cyber-defence knowledge and cybersecurity training across the campus by utilizing the efforts of on-campus personnel, local nonprofits, and economic agencies.
The training program’s curriculum will be developed by both Nicholls Continuing Education and the Institute for Industry-Education Collaboration. The goal of the curriculum is to train nearly 150 workers in the parishes of Lafourche, Terrebonne, and St. Mary over one year, and the project is expected to launch in early 2021.
The cybersecurity training will be conducted by the conjoined, collaborative efforts of Nicholls’ own Small Business Development Center, the South Louisiana Economic Council, other industry partners, and Terry Evans, who is an established instructor of computer and information systems.
Nicholls President, Dr. Jay Clune had stated, “the downturn in the oil and gas industry combined with the economic impacts of COVID-19 have left many Louisiana workers without jobs. This is a unique opportunity to provide our state and the Bayou Region with sustainable training in a high-demand industry.”
Before 2026, the demand for information security analysts is expected to increase by 28 percent, according to estimates made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; the Bureau also reported that the median pay within the industry is set at $98,000 per year. Therefore with that median pay and that noted expectation of the rising need for information security analysts within the next decade, this training program couldn’t have come at a better time.
Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune noted that the program aligns with the goals set forth by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, remarking, “this collaboration is the best of both worlds. We can offer continuing education for our community while strengthening our state’s economy. I want to thank Rep. Garret Graves and his staff, who made us aware of this grant opportunity and supported our efforts from day one. I also want to acknowledge the support of Sen. Bill Cassidy and his staff, as well as State Rep. Joe Orgeron.”
The $150,000 awarded by the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) wasn’t the only amount awarded recently, as the institution awarded a total of 13 projects totaling $1.7 million across the southeast United States, including three in Louisiana. Those three being, Nicholls State University as well as Baton Rogue’s Research Park Corporation and New Orleans’ University of Holy Cross.
Each Louisiana institution received their incentive investment that was designed to support initiatives and programs that expand both job training and re-employment opportunities, align workforce strategies as well as economic development strategies, create sustainable pipelines of talent, establish or enhance locally and regionally-significant public-private partnerships, and support enhanced workforce productivity through innovative programming.
According to the DRA’s announcement of the initiatives, in total, “grants ranging from $76,800 to $150,000 were awarded to industry-driven workforce development programs and initiatives in six DRA states. Eligible applicants demonstrated at least one employer partner seeking to hire more skilled workers in a high-demand industry sector and will aid communities particularly hard hit by industrial downsizing, business closures, and job losses as a result of the public health and economic crisis. “
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