CYBER Innovation Center Secures $30,000 Grant from AEP Foundation for Cybersecurity Education in Caddo Parish Schools

The Cyber Innovation Center (CIC), a leading force in cybersecurity education, has received a generous grant of $30,000 from the AEP Foundation at the behest of Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO). This funding will bolster CYBER.ORG, a subsidiary of CIC, specifically by expanding its Project REACH program within Caddo Parish Public Schools in Louisiana. CYBER.ORG’s Project REACH (Realizing Equitable Access to Cybersecurity in High School) is designed as a feeder initiative, aiming to attract a diverse group of K-12 students to pursue undergraduate degrees in cybersecurity, particularly from minority-serving institutions. The recently awarded grant will enable the expansion of Project REACH in Caddo Parish, benefiting eight schools, including Huntington, Southwood, Woodlawn, Turner, Keithville, Broadmoor STEAM, Northside, and Linwood Charter. Laurie Salvail, Executive Director of CYBER.ORG, expressed gratitude for the AEP Foundation and SWEPCO’s support, emphasizing its significance in encouraging students to pursue cybersecurity careers. She stated, “Partnerships like this are critical to expanding access to the cybersecurity field in underserved communities through programs like Project REACH that work to diversify the cybersecurity talent pipeline within the state and beyond.” CYBER.ORG believes that K-12 cybersecurity education plays a crucial role in addressing the nation’s cyber workforce shortage. The organization is dedicated to ensuring that every K-12 student acquires foundational and technical knowledge in cybersecurity, paving the way for increased participation in cybersecurity careers. Michael Corbin, SWEPCO External Affairs Manager, expressed pride in supporting CYBER.ORG’s efforts to enhance cybersecurity education in Caddo Parish schools. He noted, “By providing students with the skills and knowledge needed in the digital era, we are setting them up for success in the future.” This $30,000 grant supplements a $15,000 grant that the CIC received last year to pilot CYBER.ORG’s Project REACH program at three schools in the area. With ongoing support from organizations like the AEP Foundation, the CIC continues its mission to bridge the cyber workforce gap and empower the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. About Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) SWEPCO delivers safe, reliable, and affordable power to over half a million homes and businesses in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. With a commitment to innovative workforce development and recognition as the 2023 Employer of Excellence, SWEPCO is dedicated to supporting communities, promoting sustainability, and building grid resiliency. About American Electric Power Foundation (AEP Foundation) The AEP Foundation, funded by American Electric Power (AEP) and its subsidiaries, serves as a permanent resource for charitable initiatives. Focusing on education, basic needs, social justice, and environmental protection, the Foundation aims to improve lives and communities both within and beyond AEP’s 11-state service area.