The grant will fund training in cybersecurity across multiple levels of education.
Researchers from Texas Tech University were presented with a check from Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Bryan Daniel on Wednesday (Jan. 11) signifying the continuation of the Texas Talent Connection Grant Program from the Office of Governor Greg Abbott.
Daniel, a Texas Tech graduate, gave the $350,000 check to Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec and Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering Interim Dean Stephen Bayne, along with Renewable Energy Program Assistant Professor Manohar Chamana, the principal investigator on the grant, and co-principal investigator Argenis Bilbao.
Texas Tech received the grant first in 2019 and has now been awarded more than $1 million in funding for the “Critical Infrastructure Security Training Programs for Industry, University and High School Students.” The program combines efforts from Texas Tech, West Texas A&M and Group NIRE to train high school and university students as well as those already working in industry as information and operations systems security professionals.
“Texas continues to set employment records monthly, but employers still have demand for jobs with critical skill, like cybersecurity and automation,” said Chairman Daniel. “Innovative projects like this one with our workforce partners remain crucial to continuing to meet the demand for important middle-skill, high-demand jobs.”
The continuing grant will allow the program, which is supported by Texas Tech's National Wind Institute, to build on its previous success.
“We have trained more than 100 individuals since 2020,” Bayne said. “The participants in the program were from several different affiliations such as Sandia National Laboratory, Lubbock Power & Light, South Plains Electric Co-op, Golden Spread Electric Co-op, high school students, university and college students and other private industries. We have developed partnerships with more than 20 private and federal organizations and four educational institutions.”
The plan for the third year of the program is to include new training modules and to expand the training of high school students into the summer months.
“We are fortunate to receive a third Texas Talent Connection grant for $350,000, bringing the total for this program to just over $1 million,” Schovanec said. “I want to congratulate those involved in this program and thank Chairman Daniel for his leadership of the TWC and his support of job and career development across the South Plains.”