EDA grant to fund Geneva renovation, cyber training center at Stillman

Courtesy of Stillman College

The United States Economic Development Administration has awarded Stillman College a $2.7 million grant to develop a cybersecurity and information technology training center in Geneva Hall.

This project will establish a technical training facility that will support Stillman’s existing cybersecurity program and work to meet local employers’ existing and future workforce needs. This grant will be matched with $100,000 in state funds and is expected to create 100 jobs, retain 100 jobs, and generate $1 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

Stillman President Dr. Cynthia Warrick said the college’s new cybersecurity and information technology training center will be critically important for the continued development of its cybersecurity degree program and recruiting and retaining students for in-demand jobs. According to payscale.com, entry-level cybersecurity and IT jobs start at $55,000 per year, with many jobs offering more than $100,000 annually.

Stillman’s cybersecurity and information technology training center will also serve as a training and development hub for community members in Tuscaloosa and West Alabama. Citizens will have access to the center’s courses and resources to earn badges and certificates in IT, cloud computing, and other areas, Warrick said.

“We recognize that the small liberal arts college has to be a value to our local community and the State of Alabama,” Warrick said, “Workforce development is key, so we’ve developed initiatives to enhance not just our campus and student population, but those underserved in the community.”

Warrick said the center will also create a pipeline to area high schools, where Stillman has dual enrollment programs in cybersecurity and computer science with Birmingham City Schools and the Alabama Aerospace & Aviation High School in Bessemer.

The renovation of Geneva Hall, constructed in 1954, will begin soon. The state of the art training center will be located primarily on the second floor. HVAC and electricity will be upgraded, and an elevator will be added. Geneva has offices and conference rooms currently located on the first floor.

This project is funded under the EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance Program, which makes $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to American communities. The project is made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the West Alabama Regional Commission (WARC). The EDA funds WARC to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

“As the only member of the Alabama Delegation to support the American Rescue Plan, I am so proud that the Economic Development Administration is awarding this funding to historic Stillman College in Tuscaloosa,” said Terri Sewell, Congresswoman (AL-07). “This transformative grant will help create 100 jobs in West Alabama, equip our students with critical skills, and position our community for future economic growth. I thank President (Joe) Biden and (Commerce) Secretary (Gina) Raimondo for supporting community-led economic development and fighting to ensure that our next generation of students can pursue careers in the 21st century economy.”