Nicholls State University Receives Two Cybersecurity Grants from Louisiana Board of Regents

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THIBODAUX, La. – Nicholls received two cybersecurity grants funded by the Louisiana Cybersecurity Grant initiative developed by the Louisiana Board of Regents to establish the Maritime Cybersecurity program at Nicholls State University and the Louisiana Cyber Academy.


 

Nicholls President Jay Clune, PhD said, “Developing a highly-skilled cybersecurity workforce helps fill a critical need of the region, state and nation. These two grants from the Louisiana Board of Regents empower Nicholls to be on the cutting-edge of technological innovation and workforce preparedness.”

 

Maritime Cybersecurity at Nicholls State University

Nicholls State University will develop a new curriculum – the Certificate in Maritime Cybersecurity, an 18-month credential that can be earned by current students as part of their baccalaureate curriculum or by college graduates seeking to reskill or upskill. The grant will support new instructors, technology and program management.


 

Nicholls serves as a major epicenter for the state and nation’s maritime industry, providing services to major coastal ports for shipbuilding, seafood, coastal restoration, offshore service industries and more. The university will be home to a new Coastal Center, which will provide scientific and engineering solutions to help adapt, protect and restore Louisiana’s coast. In addition, Nicholls has been designated the site of the new Universities of Louisiana Maritime Academy to provide numerous educational pathways aligned to the workforce needs of Louisiana’s coastal and maritime industries.

 

Publication of the National Maritime Cybersecurity Plan established policy to address critical needs around preparing the nation’s infrastructure in maritime cybersecurity. With its importance in the maritime industry, as well as the network of bayous and canals that connect inland facilities to each other and to the coast, Louisiana is a major player in U.S. maritime commerce and stands to gain not only security but also an enhanced economy through development of a cyber-qualified maritime workforce.

 

“This is a big win for our region and for the university as it continues to grow programs important for the workforce of our service region,” said Dr. John Doucet, Nicholls dean of the College of Sciences and Technology and author of the maritime cybersecurity program.


 

Louisiana Cyber Academy

Nicholls will also become a partner of the Louisiana Cyber Academy – a statewide strategic initiative to develop and deliver relevant cybersecurity education, meet the growing need for cybersecurity talent and scale the state’s cybersecurity workforce. Grant funding establishes the LCA as a hub to co-develop and launch six shared, online cybersecurity courses, leading to a Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate aligned with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The LCA will be in collaboration with:

 

  • Nicholls State University
  • Bossier Parish Community College
  • Baton Rouge Community College
  • Grambling State University
  • LSU Shreveport
  • Southern University at New Orleans

 

Courses can be embedded into cyber-relevant existing degree programs at individual institutions, making a significant impact for institutions with no or few cybersecurity courses. Courses to be co-developed include Cybersecurity Foundations, Cybersecurity Principles, IT System Components, Basic Networking, Information Security Management, and a capstone guided by industry recommendations. In the pilot year, the process will be tested and refined by partner institutions with the goal of enrolling 50 students. In future years, the LCA will be open to all public postsecondary institutions in Louisiana.


 

In 2023, Louisiana’s public postsecondary institutions produced 357 graduates with degrees or concentration areas in cybersecurity. Currently, there are 4,500 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in Louisiana, and this partnership is intended to produce more cyber-relevant candidates to meet growing state needs.

 

To learn more about Nicholls College of Sciences and Technology, click here.