A joint agreement between Iowa State University and Des Moines Area Community College will try to boost the number of people working in cyber security.

It’s estimated 300,000 cyber security jobs nationwide are unfilled, as the projected damage caused by cyber-attacks is six-trillion dollars by 2021.

ISU computer engineering professor Doug Jacobson will lead what’s known as the Iowa Cyber Hub. “In this globally interconnected world, Iowans are not immune to these cyber-attacks. Cyber security can only be solved with people and education,” Jacobson says. “We need to grow local talent and we need to increase the cyber workforce.”

A Des Moines-based cyber security firm, Integrity, is one of the companies the two schools turned to for advice in establishing the Cyber Hub. Integrity president David Nelson Junior sees firsthand the growing need for workers in his industry.

Nelson says, “To give you an idea of how big this need is, the estimates today are that 1.5 million positions will go unfilled by the year 2020.” As part of the initiative, DMACC will create a cyber-security career academy for high school students. The school will also start a degree in cyber security whose credits can transfer to an ISU bachelor’s degree in the discipline.

(Thanks to Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio)