The federal government has awarded a $4.9 million grant to the county in hopes of building a work force trained in cyber security for a new command at Fort Meade.
The Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation, Anne Arundel Community College and the Pathways to Cyber Security Careers Consortium initiative will share the funding, all with the goal of training workers for the U.S. Cyber Command, a new unit headquartered at Fort George G. Meade that will lead the military's effort to defend against and to mount computer attacks. The command is expected to oversee 21,000 employees nationwide.
"This grant will help us feed the technology jobs pipeline with highly trained workers," said County Executive John Leopold. "In conjunction with our Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Program, this grant will help create a diverse and flexible array of training options that will give our region's citizens the skills to enter a growing field. When the Cyber Command comes here, we will be ready."
The consortium brings together Central Maryland workforce investment boards and community colleges in Anne Arundel, Carroll and Howard Counties and Baltimore City, state and local economic development agencies, local high schools, trade associations, businesses and community-based organizations. Anne Arundel Community College is the lead college in the consortium.
Dave Abrams, a spokesman for Leopold, said the programs will work in concert as "part of a larger goal to train our own people to work in these high-paying jobs."
Leopold proposed spending $2 million this year toward a cyber lab at the community college, but in a tight budget year, the County Council rejected the measure. Abrams said he's hopeful the council will reconsider in the future.
The job-training team applied for the grant in April.
"Our goal is to get our citizens back to work," said Kirkland J. Murray, President and CEO of Anne Arundel Workforce Development. "This funding will address the urgent need to increase the pipeline of qualified workers in cybersecurity, while connecting our citizens to jobs in this high-growth industry. Anne Arundel County will continue to be a leader in preparing our workforce for the field of cybersecurity."
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