Cybersecurity is expanding at Austin Community College District (ACC). U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett secured over $1.4 million in federal funds to develop a new advanced cybersecurity training center at ACC. The Congressman announced the new funding Monday, April 24, at the Rio Grande Campus.
“Whether it is thieves trying to steal our information or trying to steal our democracy through misinformation, we all know that cybersecurity concerns are growing in our country,” says Doggett. “These funds provide opportunities for students to connect with jobs we need to fill here in Austin. We will make a state-of-the-art facility at ACC to meet the growing demands we hear about daily in both the private and public sectors.”
The federal funding will create new cybersecurity training spaces at the college’s Rio Grande Campus. Students will have hands-on, interactive training to practice the latest cybersecurity technologies and techniques. The training spaces will feature state-of-the-art hardware and software, allowing students to gain practical experience in simulated cyberattack scenarios.
“As the world continues to become more virtual, the threat of cyberattacks increases. At ACC, we want to be part of the solution. Through innovation and collaboration with this funding, we can provide the right training to help meet the demands,” says ACC Chancellor Dr. Richard Rhodes. “We will work with industry partners to ensure students have the right skill sets necessary to solve the issues we face. I couldn’t be more pleased with what is happening today.”
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, the cost of cybercrime continues to grow, with more than 847,000 complaints in 2021, totaling losses of almost $7 billion. The Texas Workforce Commission found the demand for cybersecurity experts will grow 37% by 2030 in Central Texas alone. These numbers indicate a clear need for increased cybersecurity training to prevent and respond to cyberthreats.
“There is a huge gap in cybersecurity jobs right now. ACC is responsible for filling 80% of those jobs. These federal funds will give us a good foothold into doing just that,” says Fred Lover, ACC professor of Cybersecurity. “We will install a range that will give our students real-world training. In this range, we will have teams hacking and others defending to develop skills to protect cybersecurity.”
The new space is expected to open in spring 2024. It will serve more than 200 students annually.
For more information on ACC’s Information Technology program, visit austincc.edu/csit.