02 Jun

I-20 Technology Corridor & You, By: Darrin Denney

What many of you may not know is that our area of the United States has a thriving technology corridor and it’s only getting larger.

It’s easy to drive past CenturyLink and IBM to notice that things are different, but did you know about the other technology firms that have been growing in our area. Some of the firms you may not know are The Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) and National Cyber Research Park in Shreveport.

The CIC’s mission is to foster collaboration within its partners and develop a sustainable workforce for our area.  These workers will have skills for cyber threats, manufacturing facilities, government and local schools and universities.  The practical skills that students learn while attending CIC allows for graduates to hit the ground running once they are hired.

Louisiana Tech has now implemented a cyber engineering program aimed at producing thinkers who can problem solve and write code to prevent the latest attacks from getting into critical areas of our country and lives. Students who are involved with this program are immediately given hands on training within a team.  The collaborative environment prepares them for what will be the reality of working within most companies today.

We also have in our area the Northeast Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) that has fostered a Techby20 peer group to help enhance a climate of technology growth within the region.  The group hopes to broaden the sphere of what people know about our region.  We have a strong manufacturing base with the collaboration of IBM, CenturyLink and other firms.  We have incentive packages drawing firms to our area and we have ease of transporting goods and services with the local waterways and interstate.    

Another group that has been meeting regularly to help train the next generation of cyber security experts is NELESEC.  They meet every month to discuss various topics about cyber security and how it impacts our lives, how we can prevent further intrusions and the latest information on what students should be studying.  These talks although somewhat technical are very fun and informative.

Recently CenturyLink hosted a Cyber Security forum that had special guests that included: Former Deputy Director Under Secretary for Cybersecurity Dr. Phyllis Schneck and Global Chair of Data, Privacy & Cyber Security for White & Case Steven Chabinsky.  Each of these speakers had great things to say about our country’s abilities to thwart attacks.  They did go on to discuss the need to grow our next generation of leaders within this industry.

NELA and the surrounding communities have the ability for a great future within the technology sector.  Our students are being encouraged at a younger age through STEM programs; our young adults have more opportunities at the colleges and universities to learn as well.  Where do you fit in?  Understand that this is a great opportunity for our area to keep our kids here.  Encourage kids and young adults that we do have opportunities for them.  Reach out to any of the organizations mentioned in this article and they will help you.

NLEP:  http://www.nlep.org/home.aspx
Techby20: http://techby20.org/
Cyber Center:  https://cyberinnovationcenter.org/
LaTech: http://coes.latech.edu/cyen/
ULM: http://www.ulm.edu/cbss/cins/index.html