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Sunday July 22nd 2018

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The Buzz 3/15/18

NSA and UWF Partnership The University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity hit another milestone in its four-year history last week when it announced a partnership with the National Security Agency to enhance cybersecurity workforce development and create accelerated pathways toward completion of an undergraduate cybersecurity degree program.

“It was 2014 when UWF launched the Center for Cybersecurity as a hub for research and opportunities for students to move into high demand career fields,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “Little did we know at the time how fast and how big and just how awesome this program was going to be in less than four years.”

The agreement allows students who complete the Joint Cyber Analysis Course to earn undergraduate credit hours at UWF. JCAC is open to active military. The six-month JCAC course is designed to train individuals with limited computer experience and make them proficient in cyber analysis.

UWF joins Augusta University, Dakota State University, Drexel University and University of Maryland University College as the only higher education institutions with which the NSA has partnered to offer accelerated degrees.

“The National Security Agency’s National Cryptologic School is very pleased to be partnering with the University of West Florida to assist our nation in developing and training federal and military workers in cybersecurity,” said Dr. Leonard Reinsfelder, Commandant, NSA National Cryptologic School. “The University of West Florida recognizes the unique talent of our nation’s cyber warriors, especially our military in the State of Florida, and we are pleased to partner with them as we prepare for the future.”

Both Saunders and Reinsfelder talked about the need for cybersecurity experts.

“The national issue of cybersecurity is in the news every day,” said Dr. Reinsfelder. “We do not as a nation fully have it under control. We do not have enough people who are filling the jobs we know about today and the growing number of jobs is scary.”

Dr. Saunders explained, “The number of cybersecurity job openings in Florida alone is estimated to be about 13,000, and the number nationally is nearly 300,000. Cybersecurity experts predict there will be a global shortage of 3.5 million professionals by 2020. The shortage of cybersecurity professionals is alarming, and we need to develop strategic partnerships to fill some of those openings.”

In 2017 more than 4,000 military students completed the JCAC that is overseen by the NSA National Cryptologic School, which is housed at the Center for Information Warfare Training at Corry Station in Pensacola. Under the partnership agreement, UWF will apply up to 30 credit hours for the JCAC graduates toward a bachelor’s degree in computing and information sciences with a cybersecurity specialization or 15 credit hours toward an associate’s degree in general education. Once enrolled at UWF, students may be awarded up to three additional semester credit hours based on credit-by-proficiency evaluation.

“This partnership is an excellent opportunity to prepare our students for successful careers in cybersecurity by providing our educational resources,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “It aligns with our unwavering commitment to train cybersecurity talent and address the critical cybersecurity workforce shortage across the nation.”

In 2016, the NSA and Department of Homeland Security designated the UWF undergraduate cybersecurity program as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. The University received the designation in 2017 as a Center of Academic Excellence Regional Resource Center for the Southeast Region. For more information about cybersecurity, visit uwf.edu/cybersecurity.

More Growth Without Tariffs Last week President Donald Trump placed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Will tariffs help our economy grow?

“The plus is the obvious protection of a domestic industry, but the minus is the damage that the tariff does elsewhere in the economy,” said Dr. Richard Hawkins, chair of the University of West Florida Department of Marketing, Supply Chain Logistics, and Economics.

“There’s been some really good research among the leading economists on what happens to countries that go the other way,” he said. “In other words, rather than enacting protectionists’ policies, what happens to countries who relax protectionists’ policies? The answer is they grow faster, so if you’re interested in economic growth in 2019 and 2020, then you want to be moving away from protectionism and towards free trade.”

In 2002, President George W. Bush raised tariffs on selected steel products in hopes of reviving the U.S. steel industry with the goal of keeping them in place for three years. The tariffs backfired.

“The World Trade Organization authorized retaliatory tariffs against U.S. goods, and Europe chose oranges because of Jeb Bush and beef because of George W. Bush,” said Hawkins. “So it just leads to those kinds of messes where other countries get upset and then they get the right to impose retaliatory tariffs against U.S. goods.”

In the face of retaliatory tariffs by the European Union, President Bush removed the tariffs after only 18 months.

When it comes to tariffs, Dr. Hawkins said, “Eventually cooler heads usually prevail.  Although in this case, I can’t say for sure that that’s going to happen.”

Three RESTORE Projects Funded On March 1, Escambia County received grant awards for three RESTORE Direct Component Pot 1 projects from the U.S. Department of Treasury as part of the county’s RESTORE Multi-Year Implementation Plan.

The Carpenter Creek and Bayou Texar Revitalization Plan will develop a master plan to enhance the environmental and economic resilience of the watershed. An environmental assessment will identify the causes of legacy environmental impairments to Carpenter Creek and Bayou Texar. Approximately $1,308,000 has been contributed from the RESTORE Pot 1 allocation.

The Universal Public Access Plan will evaluate public infrastructure, including facilities, in Escambia County for compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act Standards to identify enhancement opportunities to meet the needs and desires of citizens with disabilities by upgrading existing infrastructure and facilities. The RESTORE Pot 1 allocation is $360,000.

The Eleven Mile Creek Basin Stormwater Ponds project will plan and design two new stormwater ponds in the Eleven Mile Creek basin that will provide flood attenuation, improve water quality, expand and/or improve adjoining floodplains/wetlands, and positively impact coastal areas of Escambia County that border Perdido Bay. The RESTORE Pot 1 allocation is $268,800.

Pensacola Bay Center Replacement Page The Escambia County Commission is reviewing the best way to move forward with the aging Pensacola Bay Center and the challenges the facility currently faces. To view details about the process visit the Pensacola Bay Center Replacement Project page: myescambia.com/open-government/projects/project-listing/pensacola-bay-center-replacement.

The page includes financial reports, proposals and market and economy impact analyses. Additionally, Escambia County has selected the Downtown Pensacola Multi-Use Sports and Events Venue as one of the five priority projects to include in the initial pre-application cycle for Triumph funding. The application and support documents can also be found on the project page.

To stay informed on the project, select the “Stay Updated on this Project” button on the page to receive an email whenever the page is updated.

More Job Growth Coming Last week, Gov. Rick Scott announced a $4 million Job Growth grant for the Pensacola International Airport. The grant most likely signals that Triumph Gulf Coast will look favorably on the city’s request for $130 million to add three additional hangars for VTMAE at the airport.

Gov. Rick Scott announced nearly $23 million in awards for 11 additional Florida Job Growth Grant Fund projects across the state. The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund provides $85 million for improving public infrastructure and enhancing workforce training in Florida. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has received more than 235 proposals requesting more than $825 million in funding.

“These projects will help meet infrastructure and workforce training needs across the state in order to promote economic development,” said Gov. Scott. “These projects are also slated to add more than 18,600 jobs for Florida families. I look forward to the completion of these projects.”

Currently, the City of Pensacola is completing the construction of the first maintenance, repair and overhaul hangar for VTMAE at the airport. The hangar is expected to begin operations later this spring and will create 400 jobs.

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward thanked the governor in a written statement sent to the media.

“This new funding will allow the airport to construct city-owned infrastructure, including additional taxiways, aprons, roads and support facilities for aviation workforce development, for multiple users,” said Mayor Hayward.  The three additional hangars would create up to 1,600 more jobs.

Topping Off Children’s Hospital Construction of the new Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart reached its halfway point last week. Sacred Heart patients, physicians and associates gathered to celebrate the installation of the final and highest piece of steel on the construction project, known as a “topping-off.”

“This final steel beam is a remarkable symbol of the progress our team has made in the past year, the first half of our construction journey,” said Henry Stovall, president of Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola and The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart. “This building is the result of countless hours of planning from our staff coupled with beautiful execution from our construction workers. I would like to thank our entire team for bringing us to this milestone.”

Construction of the new four-story children’s hospital began on Sacred Heart’s Pensacola campus in March 2017 and is expected to be complete in the spring of 2019. More than $20.7 million has been awarded to Escambia County sub-contractors. Upon opening, the new children’s hospital is expected to add 100 Sacred Heart jobs for the local community.

Sacred Heart Health System and Ascension have committed $55 million toward construction of the new children’s hospital. In order to complete the building as planned, Sacred Heart needs to raise an additional $15 million from the community. To make a donation towards the new Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart, visit givesacredeart.org.

Free Spring Break Program Escambia County’s Play, Learn, Grow after-school program will host a special spring break program Monday, March 26 through Thursday, March 29 from noon-5:30 p.m. at the Brownsville Community Resource Center, 3200 W. De Soto Street. The program is free and open to youths in grades K-12, including those who have never participated in the Play, Learn, Grow after school program. Registration is required.

The program will provide a fun, stimulating environment for students to enjoy during spring break, with recreational activities and games throughout the week.  Activities include hands-on projects, arts and crafts, electronic games, board games, basketball and kickball. For more information, contact the Escambia County Neighborhood & Human Services Department at 595-3130.

Strong Numbers Pensacola International Airport had a recording-setting month in January. The facility handled 117,766 passengers, a 10.1 percent increase over January 2017.  In 2008, the airport set a record for January with 109,579 but hasn’t approached that number until this year. The Pensacola airport had 10,820 more passengers than it did in January 2017.

Mark Your Calendar The League of Women Voters Pensacola Bay Area will have presentation regarding C. A. Weis Community School on Saturday, March 17 at 10:15 a.m. in the Tryon Branch Library, 1200 Langley Ave. Holly Magee, principal of Weis Community School will discuss how her school has become a center for community life.

Whitesell-Green/Caddell, the design-build entity selected to build the new Escambia County correctional facility, will host a public Escambia County Corrections Project kickoff to prequalify subcontractors and vendors who want to participate in the construction of the new jail. Project team members from local agencies will be available to discuss employment opportunities for qualified individuals. Agencies that will be in attendance include Nash Plumbing and Mechanical,  A&B Electric, Pensacola Glass, Tindall Precast, Bell Steel and Whitesell-Green/Caddell. The kickoff is Wednesday, March 21 from 3-6 p.m. at the Brownsville Community Center, 3200 W. De Soto St.

Inweekly, Pensacola Young Professionals and the Lewis Bear Company are sponsoring a political forum for the Escambia County Commission District 4 race. Robert Bender, Kendrick Doidge, Bill Fetke, Chris Phillips, Terry Strickland and Boyce White have been invited. Inweekly publisher Rick Outzen will be the moderator. The forum is Thursday, March 22 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in the Lewis Bear Company Hospitality Room at 6120 Enterprise Dr.

18th Annual Seagrass Awareness Celebration offers family-focused activities including live marine life in touch tanks, “eat a seagrass bed,” seining, games, fishing, marine creatures, marine debris, arts and crafts, kayaking and food vendors. Attendees are encouraged to bring water, sunscreen, hat, water shoes, and lawn chairs. The free event will be held Saturday, March 24 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Shoreline Park South in Gulf Breeze.