Vice President Joe Biden has announced that the Department of Energy (DoE) will provide a $25 million grant over the next five years to support minorities and cybersecurity education.

The new grant will support the creation of a new cybersecurity consortium consisting of 13 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), two national labs and a k-12 school district.

The announcement follows President Obama’s statements on cybersecurity which focused on the need to fill the growing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals, while also diversifying the talent base in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The funding announcement preceded Obama’s State of the Union address during which he again called out his administration’s commitment to combatting cyber threats.

According to a White House announcement the demand for cybersecurity workers is growing 12 times faster than the US job market, creating well-paying jobs.  To meet the need, the DoE established the Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline Consortium with funding form the Minority Serving Institutions Partnerships Program (MSIPP) that is housed in its National Nuclear Administration.

The MSIPP has stated that its focus will be on building a strong pipeline of talent from minority-serving institutions to DoE labs, with a mix of collaborations, involvement of DoE scientists in mentoring, teaching and curriculum development as well as student recruitment.

The $25 million in funding will be distributed over five years, with the first grants being distributed in 2015.

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