Temple College and the Temple Independent School District (TISD) have received a $1,486,204 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand the cybersecurity curriculum at both institutions. A particular emphasis of the new initiative will be to increase the numbers of female and minority students who enter the field.

The grant was awarded through a Department of Education program known as Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). Congress made extra funds available through this program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A major focus of the new initiative will be to get more students at Temple High School to enroll in dual credit classes, especially classes that focus on cybersecurity. The grant will help cover the cost of these classes, as well as the cost of new computer equipment and certification tests.

The grant will also cover the cost of hiring a new counselor who will focus specifically on promoting dual credit classes to students and parents in TISD. This new counselor will help make sure dual credit students complete their courses successfully.

Temple High School currently has approximately 140 students taking dual credit classes. Administrators hope to increase that number to 300 within the next two years.

“Cybersecurity is a critical field and we are excited to be able to expand Temple College classes to students at Temple High School to offer premier training,” said Temple College President Dr. Christy Ponce.

Dr. Ponce noted that cybersecurity is one of the most often mentioned fields for which local employers are seeking well-trained workers.

Josh Wilson, chair of the Computer Information Systems Department at Temple College, said TISD students could complete a Certificate in Cybersecurity by taking six dual credit classes while they are still in high school. After graduation, they could enroll in Temple College and take the remainder of the courses necessary to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in cybersecurity.

The grant provides enough funding for Temple College to add five new sections of cybersecurity classes to meet additional demand.

While much of the new initiative will be targeted toward high school students, it also is designed to help adults who need to reskill because of pandemic-related job losses.

The grant will help pay tuition for 120 additional students who would like to enroll in cybersecurity classes at Temple College.

Funding from the grant will also enable Temple College to hire a new coordinator of professional development who will work with both the college faculty and the school district faculty, with a particular emphasis on improving their expertise in online teaching.

The joint grant proposal is one of several new initiatives that have resulted from a 2019 retreat in which the governing boards of both Temple College and TISD agreed to work together to get more high school students pursuing higher education.

“The Temple College and Temple ISD boards have a regional goal to increase the number of students who earn college credit before they graduate from high school,” said Bob Browder, chair of the Temple College Board of Trustees. “This grant will help advance that goal and will allow students to receive training in a high-demand high-wage field.”

“The partnership between Temple College and Temple ISD continues to grow as we create innovative opportunities to help students expand their education beyond high school,” said Temple ISD Superintencent Dr. Bobby Ott. “As technology continues to evolve around us at a rapid pace, the cybersecurity industry is also expanding and we are excited for our students to be able to experience this new dual credit program.”

For more information on cybersecurity programs available at Temple College, visit www.templejc.edu/cis.