Former Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin will lead the new Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies at Rhode Island College, Gov. Dan McKee announced earlier this month.
The new institute aims to position Rhode Island at the forefront of cybersecurity education, workforce development and small business support by providing students real-world experience through its undergraduate cybersecurity degree. The program plans to add a master’s degree and certificate programs as well as a degree in artificial intelligence.
“Every 11 seconds, a bad actor launches a ransomware attack against critical infrastructure, hospitals, municipalities and businesses,” said Langevin in a press release. “The institute will help close the gap between unfilled cybersecurity jobs and the number of trained professionals needed to fill them.”
There are thousands of unfilled cybersecurity jobs in Rhode Island and more than 500,000 across the country, according to the release.
“The future of cybersecurity is being shaped right here in Rhode Island,” said Jen Easterly, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in a press release. “Cyber defense is a vital need, which means we must recruit, train, prepare and inspire the next generation of cyber leaders today. That’s exactly what the Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technology is doing.”
The upcoming degree in AI aims to address the integration of the technology into business processes while also addressing concerns related to cybersecurity, privacy and ethical issues. Additionally, the program seeks to equip students with the skills to address bias in machine learning models to ensure businesses are fair when acting on output from these models.
Langevin’s experience in Congress has positioned him as a leader in cybersecurity, the institute says in the release. During his time in Congress, Langevin served as the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus.
“It’s always exciting when a successful Rhode Island College alumnus returns to their alma mater, but few homecomings are as momentous as this one,” Dr. Jake R. Warner, president of Rhode Island College, said in the release. “The leadership, vision and expertise that Congressman Langevin brings to the new Institute of Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies–along with the resources invested by Gov. McKee and our legislative leaders–will make this a transformative endeavor for the college and our state. Rhode Island College, and by extension, Rhode Island, will become a regional center of excellence for this critical industry.”