The National Science Foundation has awarded a $2.7 million grant to an eight-state consortium of technology centers and community colleges that is working to block cyber attacks and stop the loss of high-tech jobs in the U.S., officials said on Wednesday. The three-year grant to the Cyber Security Education Consortium will help train a new generation of cyber warriors whose job it will be to prevent potentially crippling Internet-based attacks and stop the drain of knowledge and jobs to nations such as China and India, where 2 million technological workers have U.S.-related jobs, said the officials. Richard M. George, technical director for information assurance for the National Security Agency at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland, said cyber security experts fight to preserve national security and the nation's way of life.
Phil Berkenbile, director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, said the consortium was launched in Oklahoma in 2002 to build cyber security programs at technology centers and two-year colleges across the state. It has since expanded into seven other states and includes 32 institutions, including the University of Tulsa, with 105 instructors and more than 1,250 students. Besides Oklahoma, the consortium includes the states of Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. Programs funded by the grant will offer cyber education security and work force development training at two-year institutions in the eight states. The consortium will also create centers of excellence in the strategic areas of secure coding, automation and control systems as well as mobile communications devices.