Governor talks cybersecurity, jobs during speech at Community College Cyber Summit in Bossier City

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By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

Gov. John Bel Edwards was in Bossier City July 30 to discuss cybersecurity as he delivered the keynote address during the sixth annual Community College Cyber Summit (3CS). 

In his keynote address, Gov. Edwards spoke about Louisiana’s focus in the cyber industry, how colleges throughout the state have expanded their programs, and workforce development and training in the field of cybersecurity. 

“Our primary goal is to retain newly developed talent right here in Louisiana. Not just with good paying jobs, but with excellent rewarding careers,” Gov. Edwards said. “We are setting the conditions to move at a rapid pace to build cyber security pathways from K-12, through community colleges and universities. By doing so, we will have a workforce that is second to none.” 

During his address, Gov. Edwards described Shreveport-Bossier as a cyber corridor with excellent training programs for the workforce.

“Our pipeline of cyber degree graduates is going to be incredibly important as we continue to build critical cyber jobs and more technology companies continue to follow suit and move to Louisiana,” he said. 

The speech came against the backdrop of recent cyber attacks in north Louisiana, which saw a malware attack impact three public school districts and caused Gov. Edwards to declare a statewide cybersecurity emergency. 

He said these events keep him up at night.

“We are experiencing (cybersecurity) in a real way in Louisiana for the first time right now,” Gov. Edwards said. “While it’s school systems today, it could be any public or private entity tomorrow. This is really serious.”

He added that teams, including Bossier’s own Cyber Innovation Center, are working at all school systems in the state to identify the threat and make school districts aware of how to protect themselves in the future.

“We have mobilized teams to go to the school districts to help them stand back up,” he said. “We are taking an all-hands-on-deck approach with help from the FBI and partners like the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City. We will continue to work to make sure we are going to improve the situation going forward.”

Concluding his keynote address, Gov. Edwards expressed how proud he was of the work being done, but noted that more still remains to be done.

“I am really proud of the work being done by our state, local governments, private sector, everyone involved. But I don’t think for a minute we are doing enough. I think we have to do more. I think the opportunities are going to be there, and I think we owe it to ourselves to take advantage of that. That is why we are going to continue to put a tremendous amount of emphasis on cyber.”

Hosted by Bossier Parish Community College, 3CS is the only national academic conference focused on cybersecurity education at community colleges. It helps raise institutions’ capability maturity level while helping them develop new labs, programs, practices, program components, methods of instruction and courses.