Governor McKee Launches Institute for Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies at Rhode Island College
Governor Dan McKee was today joined by Lt. Governor Matos, former Congressman Jim Langevin, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly, Rhode Island College President Jack Warner, General Assembly leadership and other elected leaders for the launch of the Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies at RIC.
“The Institute for Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies is a win for students, our economy and all of Rhode Island,” said Governor McKee. “We know that students who graduate from this institute will have higher earning potential and will be well positioned to go into this competitive field to fill jobs right here in our state. I am proud to say that Rhode Island is home to an institute that stands out nationwide as a leader in the cybersecurity field and I want to thank Congressman Langevin for being such a strong partner in this effort.”
The Institute, led by Congressman Langevin (‘90), a nationally recognized leader in cybersecurity, positions Rhode Island at the forefront of cybersecurity education, workforce development and small business support.
"It’s always exciting when a successful RIC alumnus returns to their alma mater, but few homecomings are as momentous as this one. The leadership, vision and expertise that Congressman Langevin brings to the new Institute for 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,” said Dr. Jack R. Warner, president of Rhode Island College.
Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field with thousands of unfilled positions in Rhode Island and more than 500,000 across the United States. Information Security Analyst is now ranked as one of the Top 5 best jobs in the nation with a median salary of $112,000. The Institute will equip the next generation of cybersecurity professionals with the technical and business skills to meet the cybersecurity challenges of the 21st century.
CISA Director Jen Easterly leads the federal government’s efforts to manage and reduce risk to the United States’ the cyber infrastructure. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Easterly served for more than twenty years in intelligence and cyber operations and was instrumental in the design and creation of United States Cyber Command.
“The future of cybersecurity is being shaped right here in Rhode Island,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly. “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. I’m honored to be a part of today’s launch and grateful to my friend, Congressman Langevin, for his unparalleled leadership and vision.”
"Every 11 seconds, a bad actor launches a ransomware attack against critical infrastructure, hospitals, municipalities and businesses. The Institute will help close the gap between unfilled cybersecurity jobs and the number of trained professionals needed to fill them,” said Congressman Jim Langevin, the Institute’s distinguished chair. “Our leading researchers and professionals will also develop practical and policy approaches to the cybersecurity challenges facing businesses, non-profits and government."
The Institute currently offers Rhode Island’s first business-oriented undergraduate cybersecurity degree. Students will have the opportunity to gain real-world knowledge and experience by interning with leading Rhode Island companies and state and local government agencies. The degree provides hands-on experience that will uniquely prepare graduates to be ready for their first day on the job.
The Institute’s upcoming master’s degree, certificate programs and community outreach will ensure that cybersecurity training is available and accessible to both students and professionals across all industries.
Starting in the Fall 2024 semester, the Institute will also offer a degree in artificial intelligence (AI) that addresses the integration of AI into business processes to increase productivity and insight while also addressing the related cybersecurity, privacy, and ethical issues. The degree incorporates generative AI, large language models, such as ChatGPT, and the reinforcement learning used in autonomous vehicles. Additionally, the degree equips students to address bias in machine learning models to ensure businesses are fair when acting on output from these models.
“In our rapidly evolving digital world, the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals is ever-growing. Identifying and reducing cyber risks and enhancing safeguards within our infrastructure is a critically important need in nearly every industry and company,” said Senator Reed. “Whether they go on to work for the federal government or in the private sector, developing software, or serving as a systems administrator, Rhode Island College’s new Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies under the leadership of my former colleague, Congressman Langevin, will prepare students with in-demand skills that can help them enter the workforce ready to meet the needs of employers.”
“Former Congressman Langevin’s deep cybersecurity expertise will be an asset to his alma mater, Rhode Island College,” said Senator Whitehouse. “The Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies is a testament to Jim’s steadfast commitment to growing our state’s cyber infrastructure and ensuring we have the talent to respond to emerging cyber threats.”
“The new Rhode Island College Cybersecurity Institute will help Rhode Island students launch careers in the rapidly growing cyber field while strengthening national security and keeping people safe,” said Representative Magaziner. “This work would not be possible without the incredible leadership of Congressman Jim Langevin, who realized earlier than most the importance of cybersecurity and the need for Rhode Island to be a leader in this important space.”
“Congressman Jim Langevin has been sounding the alarm on the dangers of cyberattacks and cybercrime for years, long before those risks were widely known,” said House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi. “In 2023, the World Economic Forum ranked cybercrime and cybersecurity as one of the top ten global risks. The Institute for Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies at Rhode Island College positions Rhode Island to be a leader in these fields, and it will also help us prepare the next generation of cybersecurity experts.”
“With the launch of the Institute for Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies at Rhode Island College, we celebrate our commitment to keep Rhode Island at the forefront of cybersecurity,” said President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio. “This would not have been possible without Congressman Langevin’s leadership and dedication, and we are fortunate to have him at the helm of this exciting initiative. I am grateful to all the partners whose efforts helped make this Institute a reality.”
“This year, we worked across state government to invest in the future of Rhode Island College. The Institute for Cybersecurity & Emerging Technologies at RIC is a crucial part of that plan and will help prepare students for opportunities in an important, growing industry,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “I look forward to seeing the Institute grow under the leadership of President Warner and Congressman Langevin.”
"This momentous occasion marks a significant milestone for Rhode Island College and promises to be a tremendous asset for our entire community," said Mayor Brett P. Smiley. “I am thrilled that Providence’s higher education institutions continue to be ahead of the curve, offering Rhode Islanders an invaluable opportunity to learn from regional experts and join the rapidly growing workforce of cybersecurity and emerging technologies. This new institute further cements our city as a regional powerhouse for the growing industries of tomorrow and helps Providence grow into a top destination for people to live, work, and visit.”
“The Cybersecurity Institute at Rhode Island College is an important addition to in-state, demand-driven industry training and education and can be a destination degree for students across the country who want a postsecondary credential with unlimited career opportunities in the tech industry,” said Shannon Gilkey, Ed.D., Commissioner of Postsecondary Education. “Under Congressman Langevin’s leadership, Rhode Island College has an opportunity to become a leading hub for the development of premier talent in this industry sector.”
The program curriculum is aligned with National Security Agency (NSA) standards. The Institute is housed within the Rhode Island College School of Business, led by Dean Marianne Raimondo.
Additional details are available at https://ric.edu/cyber.