By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced in her first State of the State address that she plans to build a cyber technology and engineering secondary school in North Alabama.
“Education is especially effective when there is a concentration on particular subjects or skills,” Ivey said. “The Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, and the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science in Mobile, are special-focus schools which effectively prepare their students for rewarding careers. As workforce needs evolve, we must create educational opportunities that prepare our people to meet those needs. Tonight, I am announcing, the formation of the Alabama School of Cyber-Technology and Engineering, which will be based in Huntsville. This school will prepare some of our state’s highest-achieving students to enter the growing fields of cyber technology and engineering. Just as Huntsville has always been on the leading edge of the rocket and aerospace industries, the Alabama School of Cyber-Technology and Engineering will ensure that Alabama students are at the forefront of today’s emerging technologies.”
State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, told reporters that a school of cyber technology and engineering in North Alabama will draw the cream of the crop students. Families will move to the area to enroll their children there, and it complements the role that science and engineering already play in the area. There will also be a dormitory.
Sen. Orr said that it will be a secondary school like the School of Fine Arts in Birmingham and the School of Math and Sciences in Mobile. Orr said that it would be funded out of the state budget and would not be under any local school system.
“The cyber world is growing by leaps and bounds,” Orr said. “We are very pleased that she is taking this initiative. I will be carrying a stand-alone supplemental appropriation.”
Economic Developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “The future Alabama School of Cyber-Technology and Engineering in Huntsville demonstrates Alabama’s commitment to workforce development. Economic development requires partnerships and a willingness to invest in our future. If we continue following these principles, we will continue to witness success stories in Alabama.”
NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center has recently added a cyber camp program for teens that has been very popular.
Ivey recently gave a very large grant to the Spaceflight Center partly to expand the cyber camp. Ivey said then that there are a number of good cyber security jobs that are unfilled in Alabama because employers can’t find workers with the necessary skills to fill them.