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Project Details
Economic Development
Artificial Intelligence & Cybersecurity Center of Excellence for Workforce Development
We will develop a 3D virtual Center of Excellence (COE) to grow the region’s AI and Cybersecurity future workforce through project-based, start-up-like approaches that prototype AI-smart, cyber-secure technologies for healthcare, manufacturing, and aerospace in partnership with companies, communities, and possibly Wright Patterson AFB. Our “avatar” approach will attract the nation’s best and brightest to Dayton region. Requested funds will be spent developing a 100-avatar 3D virtual COE.
Organization Details
Discovery Lab – Global (DLG)
707 miamisburg-centerville rd #247
Dayton, Ohio. 45459-6522
Montgomery
Same
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Non-profit
Organization Contact Details
Rob Williams
Executive Director
Discovery Lab – Global (DLG)
937-907-0062
707 miamisburg-centerville rd #247
Dayton, Ohio. 45459-6522
Montgomery
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Location Details
Dayton
Montgomery
Ohio 10th
Financial Details
1450000
3500000
We have received funding from Department of Labor (DoL) of $275,000 to date. The DoL funding is to develop and administer a cybersecurity certification “boot camp” inside of our 3D virtual cybersecurity campus that helps veterans pursue a career in cybersecurity by earning a nationally recognized CompTIA Security+ cybersecurity certification after completing our program. Scores of veterans, active service members, and government civilians/contractors have successfully completed the program to pursue cybersecurity positions. Our funding request of $1,450,000 is meant to transition that pilot cybersecurity program plus our AI project-based workforce development strategy into the proposed Center of Excellence to help create cybersecurity and AI jobs in the Dayton region. We will use the success of the AI and Cybersecurity COE for Workforce Development to pursue the remainder of the estimated total cost of $3,500,000 from our planned outreach efforts with Dept of Labor, State of Ohio, and companies in the AI and Cybersecurity industries.
Administration or Operations
No
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Yes
Immediately
We believe that additional funding opportunities exist for pieces of this proposal with Dept of Labor, state of Ohio, DARPA, ONR, Small Business Administration and possibly NSF.
Community Details
Some may question why the proposed Center is focused on both AI and Cybersecurity technologies, instead of focusing on just one such as Artificial Intelligence or Cybersecurity. There are two compelling reasons: (1) In our Discovery Lab – Global (DLG) program, we’ve determined that AI and cybersecurity are both potential gamechangers for the future creation and growth of healthcare, manufacturing, and aerospace companies in the Dayton region that can succeed in an increasingly globally competitive world however (2) we also see that these two technologies are becoming increasingly interdependent as companies discover the need to develop products and services that are not only AI-smart but also cyber-secure. We feel the integrated AI and Cybersecurity approach of our COE proposal will help to meet that challenge.
Because of these 2 compelling reasons and because DLG has experience developing AI and cybersecurity STEM and workforce development projects inside of our existing 3D virtual STEM campus, we believe that proposing a Center of Excellence that integrates the coupling of AI and cybersecurity into our workforce development strategy is exactly what the region will need to remain globally competitive economically. This approach will also set our project proposal uniquely apart from other STEM workforce development proposals.
Consequently, to aid the evaluation we decided to answer the Community Need question in the context of the 7 metrics used by the PDAC committee:
1. Return on Investment: We expect to help fill, retain, or create 26 to 50 jobs in AI and in cybersecurity for the requested funding of $1.45M as a partnership with the industries and communities in the Dayton region. We’ve identified some of the initial partners in AI and cybersecurity. We also see the small business offices at Wright Patterson AFB as possible future funding opportunities given our planned start-up-like approach to workforce development in AI and cybersecurity. Based on our experience over the past 7 years as a non-profit, we see the possibility that our approach for attracting the best and brightest from across Ohio and the nation via our 3D virtual campus approach will attract some who will take what they learn from our project-based approach to create start-ups … in Ohio.
2. Economic Growth Potential: We will be able to demonstrate a sustained ability to create high-value jobs that will increase tax revenue by focusing on developing a high-tech workforce focused on high demand / high paying technology areas like Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity. While average salaries can vary greatly, based on extensive job posting data gathered by data gathering organizations like ziprecruiter.com, the average salary for a cybersecurity analyst in Ohio is $85,631 while the average salary for an Artificial Intelligence engineer is $138,025. Of course, these are not entry level salary levels, but they do show how a region’s tax base has the potential to increase substantially by building a talent pipeline that produces a future workforce in these two high-paying areas thus greatly strengthening a community’s economic health.
3. Regional Character: Our workforce development efforts in Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity will strengthen the economic development of the entire Dayton region. For instance, every county and community in the Dayton region to include school districts, government administrations, and small businesses will experience cyber-attacks in some form or another and thus will benefit from having the ability in their community to access their own home-grown cybersecurity workforce. To protect their county and communities, they will increasingly look to create cybersecurity staff position or seek local cybersecurity consulting support thus creating a growing demand for cyber talent that our Center of Excellence for Workforce Development could help fill.
4. Maturity: The project is ready for funding for the following reasons. We’ve identified the strategy for generating a revenue stream around a 3D virtual campus approach to AI and cybersecurity workforce development that can attract talent from across Ohio and the nation to the Dayton Region. Industry, government, and talent recruitment partners are being identified that will provide apprenticeship and future positions for the AI and cyber talent produced by our COE thus creating talent pipelines for our partners that will attract talent to the Dayton Region from across the entire country through the national reach our 3D virtual campus “avatar” approach provides us. This is especially attractive in these COVID days in which many of the nation’s young talent are accustomed to distance learning experiences. In addition, we are leveraging the successes and lessons learned from running a multimillion-dollar Air Force workforce that operated for 10 years at Wright Brothers Institute Tec^Edge. We will leverage our existing AI and cybersecurity programs (to include a Dept of Labor funded one for veterans) that demonstrate that our approach works and can be scalable to the level that can have major workforce development impact for the Dayton region. It is important to note here that even though we use 3D virtual environment technology, our approach does not require nor need the use of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets.
5. Support: We expect that the number and depth of commitment of individuals and organizations in favor of the project will be extensive – especially from those who are looking for an opportunity to pursue careers in AI or cybersecurity. We expect that our biggest supporters will be the companies and communities in the Dayton Region that have difficulty finding AI or cybersecurity talent to meet the opportunities and challenges to achieving economic competitiveness in an increasingly global market. We have some initial evidence that some of our biggest partners will also be start-ups and small businesses who are trying to survive and thrive in the globally competitive AI and cybersecurity market. For example, with the help of the Wright Brothers Institute (WBI) Small Business Hub and its director Jim Masonbrink, we’ve been able to offer our current Dept of Labor (DoL) funded cybersecurity workforce program to those in his small business network. The interest has been phenomenally strong suggesting that when our DoL program ends later next year, we should be able to seamlessly leverage the successes and lessons-learned into our proposed Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity Center of Excellence for Workforce Development.
6. Geographic Balance: This project will support the economic development across the entire Dayton region through our 3D virtual AI training and cybersecurity certification campus. This 3D virtual “avatar” approach means that residents of each participating county will have access to the training and certification opportunities via a computer with internet access using our free open-source software whether rural or urban.
7. Workforce Development: Our project is unique in that AI and Cybersecurity will enhance the workforce across the Dayton in all 9 JobsOhio targeted industries; e.g. Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace and Aviation, Automotive, Financial Services, Healthcare, Technology, etc. Each of these JobsOhio targeted industries need workforce talent in both AI and in Cybersecurity for the same reasons: (1) to stay competitive in an increasingly global economic competition and (2) to protect that increased AI-powered economic competitiveness against ever increasing cyber threats such as ransomware, data breaches, denial of service attacks, etc. Artificial intelligence innovations are increasingly important for smarter, more agile industrial control processes that will be increasingly crucial to Advanced Manufacturing. Similarly, as air space and road networks become more cluttered and congested, there will increasingly be the need for AI-smart navigation and control technologies for both Aviation and Automotive transport systems that need to be more secure against cyber-attacks. These are just a few examples of the strategic economic impact that our workforce development project will have on the Dayton region.
No
26 to 50
1 to 10
26 to 50
1. Regarding direct new jobs created: We believe the estimate of 26 to 50 new jobs in AI and cybersecurity created is extremely conservative given that according to Fortune.com there are about 715,000 cybersecurity job openings unfilled last year nationally, with the need for cybersecurity talent also growing explosively due to the increase in cyberattacks across a broad swath of targets across the nation, from federal level to local. Demand for AI talent is also increasing.
2. Regarding existing jobs retained: Our low estimate is because our project is not about preserving existing jobs but rather creating new jobs and filling them with a workforce developed through our program.
3. Regarding sustained permanent jobs: Our estimate is very conservative because our project-based, start-up-like approach has the very real chance of developing a workforce that will be able to upskill in AI and cybersecurity thus greatly increasing their value to their company and the Dayton region.
$75,001-$100,00
Yes
Yes
Technology
Butler, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Warren
Additional Details
No
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Rob Williams
9379070062
rob.williams@discoverylabglobal.com
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