Thanks to a multimillion-dollar federal investment, faster internet is now available at Shaw University. President Joe Biden’s infrastructure law grant program supplied millions of dollars to help HBCUs improve their internet service.
This is a massive win for the relatively new computer science program at Shaw University. As a result, the Raleigh HBCU will soon receive more than $5 million. Upon learning of the grant, Dr. James Brown, director of Shaw’s Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research, used “incredible” to describe its significance. The center, established 18 months ago, broadens access to careers in cybersecurity for underrepresented groups.
Brown noted the Washington influx of funds would assist in getting the new department off the ground.
“This is truly transformative for the university. And it’s going to impact so many students, so many lives here at Shaw University,” Brown said.
On Monday, ABC 11 spoke with senior White House adviser Mitch Landrieu on Zoom. He is the man in charge of disbursing Biden’s federal funding. Landrieu assured the public that “(the money) is coming” immediately.
An additional $175 million from the Connecting Minorities Communities Pilot Program will be distributed to 61 institutions focusing on minority youth to provide them access to affordable high-speed internet. This effort contributes to the administration’s overall objective of increasing access to high-speed internet in underprivileged and rural areas.
“The idea is really simple is to make sure that everybody has access to high-speed internet so they can have access to knowledge, level the playing field, and have the greatest opportunity to succeed in their life,” Landrieu said.
Brown’s goal at Shaw is to take the fledgling computer science program there from good to great. He hopes to achieve the National Security Agency’s designation for academic excellence.
“The last time I looked, there are less than 30 schools (recognized by NSA),” he added. “And so we would be the only HBCU and the only school in North Carolina with that designation.”
Five other historically Black colleges and universities in North Carolina also received grants, including Fayetteville State. Saint Augustine’s University received nearly $2 million in a separate round of funding last month to improve broadband connectivity across campus and transform older lecture halls into innovative learning spaces.