Attorney general announces $500K grant for new cybersecurity degree program at CNCC

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RBC | Attorney General Phil Weiser announced today that the Colorado Department of Law will award $500,000 over three years to Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) to start a cybersecurity degree program. The grant will be used to hire a cybersecurity program director, hire a cybersecurity instructor, and purchase necessary lab equipment and software licenses.

During remarks at a data privacy and cybersecurity event hosted by his office, Weiser said that one of the challenges in the emerging digital economy is finding and recruiting talent. The grant for CNCC is one solution to build talent in the growing cybersecurity field and also support economic development in rural communities.

“During a recent visit to Colorado Northwestern Community College, I had the opportunity to listen to community leaders there discuss their aspiration to set up a cybersecurity program. That is just one example of the innovation mindset that is so prevalent in our community college system, along with community colleges’ sense of responsibility for their communities,” said Weiser. “I am proud of this partnership with CNCC, and this grant will make it possible for students to develop skills and expertise to find well-paying jobs in the growing cybersecurity industry.”

“This grant for a cybersecurity program will benefit our students, our college, and the rural communities in northwest Colorado,” said Ron Granger, president of Colorado Northwestern Community College. “We are so thankful to the Attorney General and his office staff for working with us to make this dream a reality for our rural college and communities on the Western Slope.”

The money for the CNCC grant comes from the $3.6 million Colorado received from a 2019 multistate settlement with Equifax, Inc. over a nationwide data breach that occurred in 2017. The community college plans to graduate the first class in its new cybersecurity degree program during the third year of the grant and expects the program to become financially self-sufficient in its fourth year.

The Consumer Protection Section in the Attorney General’s office is tasked with ensuring the state’s cybersecurity laws are followed and enforcing them when needed. At today’s Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Compliance Toolkit for Small Businesses event, experts in the field discussed state and federal cybersecurity and privacy laws that apply to small and mid-sized businesses, the cyber threats small and mid-size businesses face, security incident response, and how companies can build a culture of cybersecurity awareness and compliance.

The National Cybersecurity Center and the Attorney General Alliance co-hosted the event with the Colorado Department of Law.

Submitted by Colorado Northwestern Community College