UHD Awarded $350,000 to Help Students Pursue Cybersecurity Careers
By Hayden Bergman
Industrial agriculture. Artificial intelligence. Many human inventions recall an idiomatic double-edged sword.
The internet, such as it is, is no different. It affords one access to unlimited information and connection while also providing everyone the ability to chime in on issues of public concern in a way that was once reserved for the elite. The internet also, however, exposes us to risk: our finances, our infrastructure—at times, our very identities.
How do we maximize the benefits and minimize the harm? One answer is to increase the number of people guarding against the risks.
Thanks to a $350,000 grant from the Texas Talent Connection Grant Program (TTCG), UHD will produce just such people through its cybersecurity training programs. The TTCG programs are aimed at producing a “highly skilled workforce” that can quickly and seamlessly transition into the Houston professional community.
According to the Gulf Coast Workforce Board (GCWB), the greatest workforce needs in the region are skilled employees in cybersecurity areas such as mobile and cloud, as well as artificial intelligence security. There is also a pressing need across all industries for professionals with software development and quality assurance skills.
Part of the Office of the Texas Governor, the TTCG program is meant for “innovation in workforce development” and “exemplary workforce training projects that lead to job placement, increased wages, and job retention.” Following these guidelines, UHD’s project is deeply rooted in the greater Houston workforce demands and will be conducted in tandem with not only the GCWB (which will provide referrals and career advancement resources), but also BakerRipley, Blue Lance, Ltd., and the Greater Houston Partnership. Together, this public, private, and academic coalition will lead the way in supplying Houston with the cyber and security professionals necessary for a thriving 21st-century metropolis.
According to Dr. Mary Jo Parker, Executive Director of UHD’s Scholars Academy, the program’s primary goal is to prepare STEM students for “immediate job placements in technology positions" in the Greater Houston area. “The training is an addition to existing curriculum, so UHD students will learn skills above and beyond minimum competency levels,” Parker added. Because of this, she said, the program further cements UHD as an anchor institution.
Ultimately, the program is a boon for student success, as the software, cybersecurity, and risk-mitigation skills students acquire through the program will only increase in value over time, allowing UHD graduates to lead the way in helping all of us get the best out of our interactions with technology.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.