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DCC lands $850,000 grant to train students in cybersecurity

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Danville Community College’s Cybersecurity Center of Excellence has been awarded an $850,000 grant from the United States Department of Labor to create the short-term training initiative.

The federal government has awarded Danville Community College $850,000 to launch a short-term cybersecurity training program, the college announced Monday.

With the money, the college’s Cybersecurity Center of Excellence will create a virtual program — certified by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency — to provide a 16-week training program of cybersecurity experts, a news release announced.

There are about 400 cybersecurity jobs within two hours of Danville.

Both Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine supported the funding for this initiative.

“As Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I know how important it is to defend our nation against rising cyber threats,” Warner wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately, we’ll be limited in our ability to do that if critical cybersecurity jobs continue to sit unfilled in Virginia and across the country.”

Muriel Mickles, interim president of Danville Community College, praised the support of the senators to bring the project to a reality in Danville.

“Danville is nationally recognized as a National Center of Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-year Education and we thank Senators Warner and Kaine for their vision and prioritization of this project,” she said in a prepared statement.

In all, the program will allow 60 students to earn a certificate in cybersecurity studies.

“This program will help make our region the ‘go-to’ location for cybersecurity experts,” said Anne Moore-Sparks, president and chief executive officer of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce. “That is good for our nation and good for our community.”

Monday’s announcement comes at a time when governments and private industry are grappling with a growing number of attacks by hackers around the globe, the release reported. By 2021, it’s estimated the cost for cyberattacks in the United States alone will top $1 trillion and $10.5 trillion worldwide.

“Few issues are as critical as cybersecurity in our nation,” Mike Jones, chair of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber said. “Whether it involves access to an individual’s identity, finances, energy usage, or security, nearly every American has been touched by a cybersecurity threat.”

Funding was approved as part of the fiscal year 2022 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and other related Agencies Appropriations Act. The program will be funded through the Department of Labor’s Training and Employment Services account.

DCC will serve as the primary recipient of the funding.

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