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Governor Desantis announces $20-million grant for cybersecurity program

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Posted at 9:03 PM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 06:53:33-05

TAMPA, FLA. — The University of South Florida is getting $20 million from the state, for a cybersecurity program.

Governor Ron Desantis made the announcement Wednesday morning. USF’s Center for Cybersecurity will run the program. The program will facilitate cybersecurity opportunities through the Florida Center for Cybersecurity at USF. The governor says the need for people in cybersecurity is huge.

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According to, data breach costs went from $3.86-million dollars to $4.24-million in 2021. They said that’s the highest it’s been in 17 years. Cybersecurity experts say there’s a very real possibility that more cyber attacks are on the way because of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

“The national security threat that we are facing is real there is high demand for critical skilled workers in this space,” said David Holland, the founder, and CEO of Arete Solutions.

This is going to be a regional program. The Bay area will be one region, Florida International University in Miami will cover that region. Gov. Desantis said there will be a third school added, but they haven’t named that school yet.

The $20-million will be used to expand cybersecurity programs, train teachers, purchase equipment, and provide more training opportunities for college students. USF and the center for Cybersecurity will also partner with bay area high and middle schools to train students. The governor said Florida is the first state to provide this kind of opportunity to middle school students.

“it’s a really big deal,” he said. “we’re putting students in a position to be able to get skills that are going to be immediately in demand.”

According to USF, cybersecurity program enrollment among students has risen nearly 40 percent since 2019. The governor is hoping to double the numbers by 2024.

During the press conference, Gov. DeSantis said there are 22,000 open high-paying jobs in the cybersecurity and IT fields. He hopes to those positions will be filled by students enrolled in the program.

“We’re proud of this $20-million. we think it will make a difference,” he said. “The bigger impact will be five to 10 years down the road as it becomes more widely available and more students have access to it.”