HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Governor Kay Ivey visited Huntsville on Tuesday to announce a $10 million economic development grant that will help establish a cyber camp, complete with campus expansion, at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (USSRC).
“Today is a great day for Huntsville, North Alabama, and indeed the great state of Alabama,” said Ivey. “In order to have a workforce that is prepared for the 21st century and can field jobs for the 21st century, we must train our students in technology.”
The USSRC will expand its facilities to include a new building, that can house a cyber camp targeting high school students.
“In order to meet the growing demand and expand our mission to inspire the next generation of explorers and leaders, the Rocket Center must grow,” said CEO Deborah Barnhart. “We need more classrooms, more simulation space, more space to showcase the life-changing progress of NASA, TVA, the Army, the MDA, the FBI, and all of our Team Redstone partners. And we need room for US Cyber Camp.”
The state grant helps the Rocket Center in a quest for matching funds for additional growth.
According to a release from the USSRC, "U.S. Cyber Camp will target Alabama's awareness of careers and degrees in cybersecurity, and as an extension of the Space Camp model, build leadership and team building skills, and increase students' confidence and performance in math and science."
Barnhart said the new building master plan is still in the works, but it would connect the museum and Davidson Center to create a continuous center. She said the addition would be a larger building than the Davidson Center is, and could even house the SLS in a similar way to the Davidson Center as it relates to the Saturn V.
She said as for US Cyber Camp, the plans are in the works. The inaugural class was held in July and 32 students graduated from the program.
"We're making a plan to start slowly and bring in students from Alabama and all of our pilot programs," she said. "Then, we will open it later on to the students around the world."
She said the curriculum is being developed and plans are possible through partners including area industry, Cyber Huntsville, and UAH.
"We are going to be known for Cyber," said Mayor Tommy Battle.
Gov. Ivey said this announcement is proof that "in Alabama, and in the USA, we still reach for the stars."
The governor's announcement confirms WHNT News 19's sourced reporting on the cyber camp.
Below are some photos provided by the US Space and Rocket Center that show the possibilities for the new building and the US Cyber Camp.
The USSRC says the US Army, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency, NASA and other federal organizations are interested in participating in the camp.