UTEP Joins Pioneering Initiative to Train the Next Generation of Cybersecurity Guards

    USSF Space Systems Command and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will provide financial aid and a pathway from college to career for UTEP students

    EL SEGUNDO, California (November 9, 2022) – President Heather Wilson of the University of Texas at El Paso joined leaders from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and US Space Force Space Systems Command (SSC) at its headquarters in Los Angeles yesterday to announce new career opportunities for UTEP students in cybersecurity.

    UTEP President Heather Wilson joined leaders from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and US Space Force Space Systems Command (SSC) at headquarters of the headquarters in Los Angeles yesterday to announce new career opportunities for UTEP students through the Cyber ​​Halo Innovation Research Program (CHIRP). This initiative provides students with financial aid and a two-year direct pathway to a cybersecurity career at SSC or SSC’s industry partners.

    The Cyber ​​Halo Innovation Research Program (CHIRP) is a joint initiative of PNNL and SSC. This is a college-to-career program that brings together government, industry, colleges and universities to provide students with a two-year pathway directly to a cybersecurity career at SSC or other partners. SSC’s industry partners.

    “Developing cybersecurity talent will help keep America safe from increasingly sophisticated cyber threats,” Wilson said. “This partnership provides financial support to our students as well as hands-on experience at Space Systems Command. We are excited to partner with PNNL and the Space Force to open up more opportunities for our students.”

    Students participating in CHIRP will undertake important jobs protecting space-based technologies such as satellites and global positioning systems. According to federal employment data, there are currently more than 600,000 information security specialist positions open in the United States.

    Colonel Jennifer M. Krolikowski, chief information officer of the SSC, said: “Every day some form of cyber attack occurs. “If we want to strengthen our position in this field, we must meet promising workforce professionals right where they are – within the academic system. If we can expose these students to threats earlier, build their critical thinking, and maximize their potential through a program like CHIRP, then we are building a foundation. for professionals who can immediately contribute to the mission as they arrive in the workforce. ”

    Through CHIRP, SSC and PNNL leaders seek to address the growing need for hands-on training in the field of cybersecurity. The program is also designed as a response to the lack of such experiences for underrepresented and minority demographic students.

    “Innovative collaboration is essential to address the shortage of qualified cybersecurity talent for the future STEM workforce,” said Evangelina Shreeve, director of PNNL’s Office of STEM Education. “CHIRP builds on the expertise of PNNL cybersecurity researchers and STEM education to uniquely equip this next generation of cybersecurity professionals.”

    Starting in spring 2023, UTEP students with at least two years of academic training can apply for the program. Those selected will then participate in a summer networking academy.

    Students who complete the program will have direct access to job opportunities with SSC, PNNL and other interested employers with unfilled positions in areas such as cybersecurity, analytics network, incident response, network policy, data architecture, operational continuity, data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and secure software development. Students who accept those job offers will be eligible for a tuition fee transfer.

    UTEP is the second university to join CHIRP. California State University-San Bernardino is the first academic institution to offer CHIRP starting earlier this year.

    To learn more about CHIRP, visit the program’s homepage at

    About Space Systems Command
    Space Systems Command is the field command of the United States Space Force responsible for rapidly developing, acquiring, equipping, protecting, and maintaining resilient space capabilities and cause death.

    The SSCD mission capability areas include launch acquisition and operation, communications and positioning, navigation and timing (PNT), space sensing, command and control, and combat management and control. communications (BMC3), and spatial domain awareness & combat power. SSC is headquartered at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif.

    About PNNL
    The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its outstanding strengths in chemistry, earth science, biology, and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address scientific challenges. sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is run by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit For more information about PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

    About the University of Texas at El Paso
    The University of Texas at El Paso is America’s leading Hispanic university. Located on the westernmost tip of Texas, where three states and two countries converge along the Rio Grande, 84% of our 24,000 students are Hispanic and half are first-timers in their families. University. UTEP offers 169 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs at America’s only open-access, leading research university.

    Last updated on November 10, 2022 at 12:00 am | Originally published on November 10, 2022

    By MC . staff
    Marketing and Communication UTEP

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