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Companies donate big to AL cyber tech school, major pieces still TBA

Monday, June 10, 2019 12:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The ball is rolling to get the state's first cyber technology magnet school ready for classes by next August.

Local technology companies handed over some big donations Thursday to the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering. At the National Cyber Summit they rallied in support of the school and what it means to have it in Huntsville, but there are still a lot of major pieces up in the air, like where the school will be and who will run it.

A location is chosen for the ASCTE, according to Senator Arthur Orr, but he's not saying where it is yet. He tells WZDX News a temporary site has a small hurdle before they can announce it, but they envision being there for the first three years while construction goes on at the permanent school site. 

Moves are being made to fund the school by companies hoping to hire its graduates.

"We know the challenge of recruiting staff and it's just gonna get more difficult as not just DoD and NASA, but the energy industry, banking, medical, all have to protect their data," said Joe Green, president of Davidson Technologies. Davidson Technologies donated $250,000 and Torch Technologies donated $100,000 to the school Thursday. 

The more than 300-student magnet school will make Huntsville the center for all things cyber security.

"There's no other school or replicate anywhere like it in the country so we're the pioneers but we've got to do it right and we've got to do it with the highest quality that we can have," said State Senator Arthur Orr, (R) District 3.

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Cyber Huntsville reports there are more than 2,000 unfilled cyber and engineering jobs in Alabama. They're jobs UAH students say would be a lot easier to succeed in as a graduate from a cyber magnet school.

"If I would have learned something like this in, let's say ninth grade, my level of skill would be an order of magnitude different," said Franco Camarillo, president of the UAH Cybersecurity Club.

The school is expected to attract more people to the area. Local students are glad it's creating opportunities for the people already here.

"It makes the most sense getting the people that are growing up here and then kind of developing their talent to kind of feed Huntsville and make Huntsville grow into a leading place for the cybersecurity industry," Camarillo said.

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