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MISO, Philander Smith College team up to prepare students for cyber security careers

Job sector is one of the fastest-growing in U.S.

For Immediate Release

August 3, 2018

Media Contact

Julie Munsell

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – With daily news coverage about computer hacking and corporate data breaches, the field of cybersecurity has become the fastest growing job sector in America. To address the need among Arkansas companies, Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc. (MISO) recently announced a new partnership that is providing ongoing academic counsel and support to Philander Smith College in Little Rock. The college will launch its new cybersecurity technical- and four-year degree program this fall.

Cyber warfare is real, and for MISO, the threat means a constant and more proactive role in prevention,” said Lamar Davis, MISO executive director of government and regulatory affairs. A regional transmission organization, MISO ensures reliable operation of, and equal access to, high-voltage power lines in 15 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba.

VIDEO COVERAGE: See reaction from MISO and Philander Smith leaders.

“Our company is not alone as we constant monitor security to protect the integrity of the power grid against the threat of cyber attacks,” Davis added. 

With partial funding from the Arkansas Department of Education, the cybersecurity program will be administered by Philander’s Workforce Innovation Strategic and Economic Public Private Partnership Program (WISE P3). WISE P3’s purpose is to address the key areas of need in the state’s workforce

"The protection and security of our technology infrastructures are critical to our global economy. Through our WISE P3 workforce training program, we aim to train cyber warriors who will develop the necessary next-generation defenses,” said Dr. Roderick L. Smothers Sr., 14th president, Philander Smith College. “MISO's partnership is crucial in helping Philander Smith establish a program that meets these industry needs on a broad scale."

In coordination with the state’s long-term strategy, WISE P3 will offer a mix of portable certifications, two-year technical and four-year applied degree programs, in the areas of computer coding, STEM, healthcare, advanced manufacturing and finance.

“The business community and corporate leaders have long tried to stay on top of emerging job trends,” said Randy Zook, president and chief executive officer of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. “This partnership meets the demands of business and creates opportunity for more high quality jobs in our community.” 

ABOUT MISO

MISO ensures reliable operation of, and equal access to, high-voltage power lines in 15 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. MISO manages one of the world’s largest energy markets, with more than $24.7 billion in annual gross market energy transactions. MISO was approved as the nation’s first regional transmission organization in 2001. The not-for-profit organization is governed by an independent board of directors and is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana.

ABOUT PHILANDER SMITH COLLEGE

Founded in 1877, Philander Smith College is a small, privately supported, historically Black, four-year liberal arts institution related to the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. The College's mission is to graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better. Philander Smith College, the only United Negro College Fund (UNCF) member institution in Arkansas, strives to provide a quality education for all regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin or ethnic background. For more information, visit www.philander.edu.