Governor McKee, Congressman Langevin, RIC President Warner Announce Proposal for Institute for Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies at Rhode Island College
The institute will be a national destination for students and faculty to advance the field, emphasizing the workforce for cybersecurity professionals
From the Office of R.I. Gov. Daniel McKee
PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee, Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, Congressman James Langevin, Rhode Island College (RIC) President Jack Warner, and state and local leaders today announced a proposal to create the new Institute for Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies at RIC. The governor will formally submit this proposal to the General Assembly as an amendment to his FY 2024 budget proposal later today.
The institute, led by Congressman Langevin, will position Rhode Island to lead the region in developing highly-skilled cybersecurity professionals through certificate, bachelor, and master’s level courses and programming while attracting leading researchers and education professionals to develop practical and policy approaches to current cybersecurity challenges.
“The cybersecurity industry is a rapidly-growing field, and it is imperative that Rhode Island be at the forefront. We want to ensure that we are focused on growing critical subject matters at Rhode Island College that will create a pipeline of talent for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Governor McKee. “I thank Congressman Langevin for his willingness to lend his national expertise to lead this effort – we are honored to have him as a partner in this exciting new Institute.”
“As an alumna of Rhode Island College, I know first-hand that the school is already an engine of opportunity for students from every walk of life. The creation of an Institute for Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies at RIC will create even greater opportunities for both new and returning students in a growing field,” said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. “With the leadership of Congressman Langevin and his decades of experience, RIC will-be well positioned to become a national leader in cybersecurity research, education, and collaboration. I look forward to working with our colleagues across government to make the Institute a reality and to ensure its success in the years to come.”
Recent reports indicate that the need for professionals in the cybersecurity industry is growing rapidly. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the workforce grew 250 percent worldwide between 2013 and 2021, from 1 million to 3.5 million. According to Emsi Burning Glass, over 715,000 additional employees were needed in the United States in November 2021. This workforce need marks a much-needed gap for institutions across the country to develop pathways for Americans to earn industry-aligned credentials, at all levels, within the cybersecurity industry.
“The Cyber Institute will provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills required to excel in the digital age. Students will be equipped with the tools and techniques to protect and secure sensitive information from cyber threats and attacks,” said Congressman James Langevin. “Moreover, they will be trained to develop and apply machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to solve complex problems across various industries. The training needed to fill these important job needs can’t come soon enough.”
With the support of RIC’s School of Business, where the Institute will be housed, the following development activities will begin if the proposal is approved by the General Assembly:
- Establish a launch cohort of students for Fall 2023, culminating in an annual Symposium in Spring 2024 that establishes a 10-year vision for the Institute.
- Develop and publish a strategic plan to expand cybersecurity and the institute’s impact on the New England and national cybersecurity workforce. This plan may include:
- Training for first responders and military veterans.
- Identifying and developing training opportunities for targeted industry sectors such as healthcare, defense, finance, and education professionals.
- Incorporating industry badging (Microsoft, Google, etc.).
- Developing and coordinating a coalition of schools and institutes of higher education to develop and align curriculum with other Rhode Island institutions of higher education that offer cybersecurity to ensure the region has multiple venues that make Rhode Island a destination for cybersecurity education and training. Each of the schools in the coalition is a National Security Agency-designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense and contributes interests, experience, and skills aligned with cybersecurity systems.
- Developing and hosting a nationally recognized speaker series featuring national leaders, hosted by Congressman Langevin on campus, locally, and nationally. Each spring, the institute will host an on-campus symposium that will attract national leaders focused on current trends and needs of the U.S. government, industry, and education in the areas of cybersecurity.
- Establishing a Cybersecurity Professional Fellowship at the institute to attract top academic teaching and research talent from the cybersecurity field to Rhode Island.
- Developing cybersecurity immersion opportunities for Rhode Island middle and high school students that develops a workforce pipeline through programming across higher education.
- Providing technical assistance for Rhode Island cybersecurity professionals through the business school and RI Commerce for kickstarting new cybersecurity businesses in the state.
“Cybersecurity has never been a more urgent concern, because cybercrimes and attacks are growing more common and sophisticated every day. The risks are enormous, both for each of as individuals and for the critical sectors that drive our economy and our daily lives,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton). “The Institute for Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies at Rhode Island College will create new pathways to opportunity for Rhode Island students while putting our state at the forefront of advancing workforce development and research in this growing field. I can’t think of anyone better to lead this Institute than Congressman Langevin, who has been a national leader on cybersecurity and an incredible partner in our efforts to make Rhode Island more secure. This is an exciting day for our state and an important step for our future.”
“The need for robust and strong cybersecurity in our lives is apparent every day. Email and phone scams, identity theft and social media hacking have unfortunately become common occurrences in all of our lives and the only way to prevent these frustrating and damaging intrusions into our privacy is with top-notch cybersecurity. In order to protect our digital lives while also strengthening our economy and workforce, Rhode Island needs a place where we can educate and train the next generation of cyberwarriors and protectors and the proposed Institute for Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies at RIC can fill this role as our world grows even more interconnected through emerging digital technologies,” said Representative William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence).
“The new Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies at RIC is the right idea in the right place at the right time,” said Rhode Island College President Jack Warner. “We are grateful to Congressman Langevin and our state leaders for recognizing Rhode Island College as an engine for the state’s workforce development and an anchor institution for our economic future. We will be at the forefront of developing the highly skilled tech workforce that our state needs to remain competitive in the global economy.”
“Students who earn their degrees and credentials in cybersecurity specialties at Rhode Island College will be well prepared for helping American businesses harden their defenses and protect their data and information,” said Shannon Gilkey, Rhode Island Commissioner on Postsecondary Education. “Affordable degrees and training in cybersecurity disciplines are a pathway to well-paying, upwardly mobile careers in a field that continues to grow in popularity and need.”
“The Council on Postsecondary Education is thrilled that Congressman Langevin will be leading up Rhode Island College’s Institute on Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies, where a generation of students will be entering careers where the job prospects will be plentiful and the compensation lucrative,” said David Caprio, Esq., Chairman of the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education. “The college continues its tradition of providing degrees that are valuable for the advancement of Rhode Islanders.”
The Governor is proposing an initial three-year budget of $4 million with $2 million coming from State Fiscal Recovery Funds and $2 million from existing RIC resources.