AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta University received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, which is meant to help grow the cybersecurity workforce and the socio-economic status of the CSRA.

The project is in phase one right now – gathering local institutions, businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies and doing research on how to expand cybersecurity jobs in the area.

“Among all proposals funded by the national science foundation nationwide, ours is the only one that has the focus on cybersecurity,” said Alexander Schwarzmann, the Dean of the School of Computer and Cyber Sciences at AU. “And I think that puts us in a very competitive position moving toward phase two.”

In the next year or two, project leaders will work on developing the proposal for phase two, which could give them more grant money and allow them to apply the research.

“Nationally, there are three-quarter million unfilled jobs in cybersecurity,” Schwarzmann said. “If you look at all universities, all community colleges, all two-year colleges, all graduate schools, nationally we graduate no more than seventy-five thousand new professionals.”

With the growth of technology, we need more workers in this field to combat cyber crimes.

“It is kind of a paradox. We have invented network systems and networks to make our jobs easier and to make communication easier – but at the same time, we open the doors to nefarious actors who abuse these technologies,” Schwarzmann said.

Ultimately, leaders hope the project increases employment in the area, and bridges the gap of cybersecurity jobs.

“We hope that the greater Augusta region will be a national capital if you will in cybersecurity,” Schwarzmann said.

He also said they are still looking for local businesses or agencies to get involved with the program. If interested, contact Dean Shwarzmann here.