Today, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) announced that Sacred Heart University received a $249,032 Training-based Workforce Development for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure grant from the National Science Foundation.  The grant will address the shortages in cybersecurity staff by creating a vocational training in cyberinfrastructure security for community college students.  


“While our economy adapts to growing technology trends, it is critical that we provide students with the training and resources to be successful in the 21st century,” said Congressman Jim Himes. “As a member of the Intelligence Committee and a former member of the Homeland Security Committee, I know that building a well-trained cyberinfrastructure security workforce is essential to the country’s competitiveness and security. Sacred Heart University’s program will be an incredible asset to Connecticut’s economy and community college students.” 


“This project uses problem-based learning, an innovative approach to teaching cybersecurity, to bring community college students into the high rewarding cybersecurity field, thereby addressing the shortage of technical staff in cybersecurity,” Dr. Sajal Bhatia, Assistant Professor and Director of MS Cybersecurity program within the School of Computer Science and Engineering at Sacred Heart University. “Community colleges have a significant student population of low-income, diverse, first-generation college students that have the potential for enabling a new stream of cybersecurity professionals. This grant will foster research in the field of cybersecurity education at Sacred Heart University and will place the institution at the forefront of nationwide efforts in bridging the enormous skill and personnel gap in cybersecurity.” 


According to Dr. Bhatia, most community colleges face significant challenges in teaching advanced cybersecurity skills for cyberinfrastructure. To address these challenges, Sacred Heart’s project will develop hands-on training modules on several offensive/defensive topics on cyberinfrastructure and a CRICE (Cyber Range Infrastructure for Cybersecurity Education) infrastructure using NSFCloud to support problem-based learning. Dr. Bhatia is looking to have these modules ready for community colleges in the next 12-18 months.