LUBBOCK, Texas- Texas Tech University researchers affiliated with the National Wind Institute received a grant for cyber security research, education and training on Wednesday.

The $350,000 award, the Texas Talent Connection Grant, is part three of a multi-year grant from the Texas Workforce Commission, bringing the program’s award total to more than one million dollars.

The grant will go toward Texas Tech’s Critical Infrastructure Security Training Programs and will help leaders provide hands-on training, as well as build up the cyber security workforce- present and future- starting with high schoolers, university officials explained.

“I think you’re seeing Texas Tech’s leadership in the South Plains community being applied in the cybersecurity community and they’re collaborating on a national level with other institutions,” said Bryan Daniel, Chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission. “We’ve got to train a whole workforce here. We’ve got to have somebody we trust to do it and that’s how you really find this application becoming the one that we awarded.”

Going on year three of the program, officials explained, the grant will allow researchers to educate students and professionals working in industries like utilities, energy and manufacturing about the world of cyber security.

“We’re gonna see three things with this grant: We’re going to see high school students being trained. We’re gonna see university students being trained- I think we would expect that. What we see here, though, is a real interest in making sure that the industry remains kind of top notch,” Daniel said.

Texas Tech said the demand for cybersecurity expertise is expected to grow rapidly in the U.S.

“We set up some unique test beds, facilities to test, and we go out and recruit people from high schools, college, in industry; and they come and take the training about cybersecurity; what to look for, how to look for attacks, and basically how to mitigate attacks from cybersecurity,” said Stephen Bayne the Interim Dean for TTU’s College of Engineering.

Specifically, he elaborated, cyber threats that seem to be more prevalent as the world increasingly relies on technology in every day life.

“I think this is a good day for Texas Tech. Texas Tech is a leader in cybersecurity and research, in general, on the energy side, and we’re just excited to continue and train the next generation of students and industry partners in the area of cybersecurity, so we can continue to mitigate and minimize the threat of cybersecurity,” Bayne expressed.