The National Security Agency has launched a new cybersecurity initiative that targets college students to fill jobs in this sector, the agency announced Monday.
TheÂ National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations Program aims to encourage students to pursue careers within the cyber domain and augment the number of skilled professionals for the industry.
Participating academic institutions offer technical and interdisciplinary curriculum for computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering disciplines.
Students can participate on summer seminars at NSA to further apply theoretical knowledge or improve method of instruction.
NSA selected Dakota State University in South Dakota, Naval Postgraduate School in California, Northeastern University in Massachusetts and the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma to participate during academic year 2012-2013.
According to the agency, the program emphasizes skills needed to perform specialized cyber operations such as collection, exploitation and response.
Centers are also required to provide education on legal and ethical issues within the cyber domain.
Students and faculty members of qualified academic institutions are also prohibited from participating in actual U.S. intelligence missions.