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JPMorgan Chase donates $150,000 to University of South Florida cybersecurity center

The funds will be used for a training program for veterans to help them obtain entry level cybersecurity positions.

TAMPA — A small group of veterans will have an opportunity to break into a new field free of charge — cybersecurity. The Florida Center for Cybersecurity, housed at the University of South Florida, is relaunching a program that will retrain veterans for entry-level cybersecurity positions, the center announced Monday.

The relaunch of the "New Skills for a New Fight" program will be funded through JPMorgan Chase, which donated $150,000.

"One of our biggest pillars for investment in the community is workforce development and ensuring our communities have a strong talent pipeline," Michael Fusco, spokesman for JPMorgan, said.

The previous iteration, which was also funded by JPMorgan, was 40 weeks long.

Veterans, said center director Sri Sridharan in a news release, are often ideal candidates for cybersecurity positions because of the background they have in "analytical thinking, crisis management and response, and the ability to follow procedures and function as part of a cohesive team."

This new version of training will be an eight-week course for 20 veterans with hands-on experience, Kate Whittaker, spokesperson for the center, said. Funding will cover the cost of developing course materials, room and equipment rentals and instruction.

"The first time we did it was sort of a pilot program," Whittaker said. "The instruction is much more streamlined."

Classes begin in July at the University of South Florida's Tampa campus. Though participants are not required to stay local once they graduate, there are five planned networking opportunities with local employers during the course.

"The hope is that they will stay in Florida and be employed locally," Whittaker said.

JPMorgan has donated $350,000 to the center to date.The center was established by the state Legislature in 2014 and tasked with making Florida the "cyber state."

To qualify for the program, participants need to be eligible for veterans' benefits through the state of Florida. For information, visit https://www.cyberflorida.org/NSNF.

Contact Malena Carollo at mcarollo@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.

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