CHOCTAW, Mississippi — Employees of various businesses within the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians recently received cyber awareness training in the Tribe’s state-of-the-art cybersecurity lab located in Choctaw, Mississippi. The classes were free to participants and were made possible through a partnership with the University of Southern Mississippi.
“The University of Southern Mississippi is excited to bring cybersecurity training to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. It is important for national security that we close the cybersecurity skills gap. This collaborative project is an important step in the creation of a cyber resilient workforce in Mississippi,” said Sara Lee, Director of the School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering at USM.
Adam T. Morrison, Chief Information Officer for the MBCI, says these classes are the first step in an effort to bring digital and cyber awareness training to the entire Tribe. “As we work on bringing broadband access to the whole Tribe in the coming year, we want to ensure that our members are comfortable using this technology in their homes and workplaces, and that they are well-versed in the potential threats of identity theft and how to mitigate those threats.”
Julia Fink, Adjunct Instructor & Cybersecurity Consultant for USM, is coordinating the program. “By providing tailored cybersecurity awareness training and certification programs like these, we can teach the community how to best protect themselves from emerging cybercrime threats,” she says.
John Hendrix, Director of Economic Development for the Tribe, says that because it is not feasible to provide in-person training to every Tribal member, classes will be filmed and made available online for viewing. He states, “Our goal is to give every member the tools they need to use technology in a secure manner. We are committed to this ongoing program and feel it will be of great benefit to our Tribal members and employees.”
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, under the leadership of Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben, is the only federally recognized tribe in the State of Mississippi. With over 11,000 members, Choctaw lands cover over 35,000 acres in 10 counties. Providing permanent, full-time jobs for over 5,000 Tribal-member and non-Indian employees, the Tribe is a major contributor to the state’s economy. Learn more at www.mschoctawbusiness.com.