The Cybersecurity and Information Technology Pathways (Cyber/IT Pathways) program is a joint endeavor of the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Center for Cybersecurity (Cyber Florida) to inspire and prepare more students to pursue fulfilling and lucrative careers in cybersecurity/information technology (IT) while helping address a national skills shortage in these areas. 

We are delighted to announce the following projects have been selected for funding through the Cyber/IT Pathways Grant program:
  • Project HaHa – FIU
  • Expanding Cybersecurity & IT Pathways – Miami Dade College
  • First Coast Cybersecurity & IT Pathways Project – FSCJ
  • Increasing Cyber Technicians 2022 – HCC
  • Hal Marcus College of Science & Engineering – UWF
  • Cloud Computing Initiative – St. Petersburg College
  • FIU Minecraft-based Cybersecurity Professional Development for K12 Teachers
  • CyberSkills2Work Florida/Center for Cybersecurity – UWF
  • Palm Beach Collaborative Cyber Pathway Project – Palm Beach State College
  • Expanding Cybersecurity & IT Pathways – Hillsborough County Public Schools
  • Hybrid-honeynet platform for CTI education – UNF
  • Cybersecurity Pathway for Public and Nonprofit Organizations – FIU
  • SCF Cyber/IT Pathway – State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota
  • SLPS Cybersecurity at LPA – St. Lucie County School Board
  • Cyber Security Lab – Florida Gateway College
  • Enhancing the Growth and Quality of Cybersecurity Programs (EGQCP) – FL Poly
  • Expanding the pipeline of the Cyber/IT workforce – USF
  • Applied Cybersecurity Fundamentals Continuing Education – Cape Coral Technical College
  • CAREERS in Cybersecurity – FAU
  • Towards Empowering the Next Generation of Cyber Professionals/Pathways – USF
  • Cyber Threat Intelligence Fellowship Program – FIU
  • The Modernization of Digital Information Technology – USF
  • Cybercrime Investigation Training for Florida Law Enforcement Officers – USF
  • Cybersecurity Professional Pathways for Women and URM – FAMU

WEBINARS

We’ve held two webinars to provide additional discussion on the program and answer questions. Access the webinar archives below to learn more and see if we answered your question.

March 15, 2022, kick-off webinar:

March 29 Q&A Webinar:

FAQs

General Program FAQs

What is the purpose of this grant?

The purpose of the Expanding Cybersecurity and Information Technology Pathways program is to increase the number of trained and/or educated workers in Florida that are prepared to fill cybersecurity/information technology (IT) jobs in the state and the Nation.

Can you elaborate on the Pathways Grant goals so we can be sure to address these goals in our proposal?
  1. To develop a highly skilled cybersecurity and IT workforce by expanding education/training programs through partnerships with business and industry and investments in critical infrastructure.
  2. To identify and support a viable range of ‘proof of concept’ initiatives that can be expanded and scaled to strengthen the state’s cybersecurity and IT education pathways that best align Florida’s K-12 and postsecondary systems to Cyber/IT workforce demands.
  3. Through the Cybersecurity and IT Pathways Expansion Grant, partnerships will:
    • Develop and implement education and training programs that integrate employer/industry involvement in program design and delivery.
    • Support hands-on, work-based learning and training opportunities.
    • Promote student enrollment and progression in cybersecurity/IT courses and educational programs from one level to the next
    • Prepare students for industry certification examinations.
    • Development of model articulation agreements and processes.
    • The design and development of new and emerging frameworks that support the evolving needs of business, industry, and the state.
    • Recommended policies, standards, and mechanisms (including Web-based mechanisms) for long-term adoption and sustainability of Cyber/IT educational programs.
Who is eligible to apply?
  • Florida public school districts;
  • Florida post-secondary technical career centers and charter technical career centers;
  • Florida College System (FCS) institutions; and
  • State University System (SUS) institutions.
  • These entities are defined further under the following Florida statutes: §1001.30, §1001.44, §1002.34, §1000.21(3), and §1000.21(6).
  • While the activities proposed within subgrant applications may include multiple partner organizations, each application must be submitted and led by at least one eligible entity as defined above.
  • Recognizing that robust public/private partnerships are an important component of workforce education, and as such, project partners may include private businesses, other government entities and jurisdictions, and nonprofit organizations.

All appropriate conflict of interest rules shall apply without exception.

When are applications due?

By 5:00 PM EST on Monday, April 18, 2022

Am I required to submit a letter of intent prior to applying?
  • While you are encouraged to submit a notice of intent to apply by 3/23/22, it is not a requirement.
  • The Cyber/IT Pathways program office will be better able to manage the application and review process if we have a rough idea of how many applications to expect.
  • Prospective applicants are encouraged to submit a non-binding Notice of Intent to Apply to pathways@cyberflorida.org by no later than the close of business on March 23, 2022, consisting of a brief project description and statement of intent to apply for funding; additional details are welcome, but notices need not include any other application details.
How do I submit an application?
  • The application period is now closed. Information on funded projects is coming soon.
What is needed to submit the application?

Please download the Call for Applications document here. The application will include the following:

  • Project/program summary
  • Table of contents
  • Detailed project/program narrative including the following information:
    1. Problem statement
    2. Proposed Project/Program Objectives
    3. Proposed results and other performance measures
    4. Proposed plan including budget justification/narrative
    5. Relevant past performance
    6. Proposed evaluation plan
    7. Contributions to Pathway Grant goals
  • Key Personnel Resumes (will not count towards 15-page limit)
  • Proposed budget spreadsheet (will not count towards 15-page limit)
  • References (will not count towards 15-page limit)
How long is the grant period for?

The grant funding period is from approximately May/June 2022 through August 2023. Applicants will be notified they were selected as subaward recipients for funding to be issued as soon as possible, which we expect to be between mid-May and mid-June 2022. Final subaward reports are due no later than August 15, 2023.

How much funding is available?

In total, approximately $17 million will be awarded as subgrants to applicants to this subgrant program. Of that total, approximately one-third of available funds will be awarded as subgrants to applicants from the Tampa Bay area, as defined in the initial FLDOE grant; and approximately one-third will be awarded as subgrants to applicants from the Greater Miami area, also defined in the initial FLDOE grant. In addition, Cyber Florida has determined that the remainder of available funds will be awarded as subgrants to ‘at large’ applicants from other areas of the state.

The final number and size of projects that receive funding will be determined based on an evaluation of applications received. In that regard, among other factors, subgrant awards will fund those programs that potentially contribute the most to the overall purpose of the FLDOE grant, and as specified below, these must be included in a subgrant application.

What are the regions of the projects?

Region 1: Greater Tampa Bay Area, including the following counties: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Sarasota, and Manatee, including:

  • University of South Florida
  • Hillsborough School District
  • Pasco County Schools
  • Pinellas County Schools
  • Manatee School District
  • Sarasota County School District
  • Hillsborough Community College
  • Petersburg College
  • Pasco-Hernando State College
  • State College of Florida, Manatee –Sarasota
  • Polk State College

Region 2: Greater Miami Area, including the following counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, including:

  • Florida International University
  • Miami-Dade Public Schools
  • Broward County Schools
  • Palm Beach County Schools
  • Miami Dade College
  • Broward College
  • Palm Beach State College

At-Large: All other geographical locations within the state of Florida not within Region 1 or Region 2

Program Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply?
  • Florida public school districts;
  • Florida post-secondary technical career centers and charter technical career centers;
  • Florida College System (FCS) institutions; and
  • State University System (SUS) institutions.
  • These entities are defined further under the following Florida statutes: §1001.30, §1001.44, §1002.34, §1000.21(3), and §1000.21(6).
  • While the activities proposed within subgrant applications may include multiple partner organizations, each application must be submitted and led by at least one eligible entity as defined above.
  • Recognizing that robust public/private partnerships are an important component of workforce education, and as such, project partners may include private businesses, other government entities and jurisdictions, and non-profit organizations.
  • All appropriate conflict of interest rules shall apply without exception.
Is any priority or preference given based on the type of education institution, students, location, or existing pathway projects/programs applying?

The applicant must meet eligibility requirements. Among eligible applicants, no preference or priority will be given based on the type of educational institution. All applications will be reviewed fairly and competitively.

Do we have to team up with a different Florida university to apply for the sub-grants?

No, as long as application is submitted by an eligible organization. The applicant can be any individual qualified organization or any combination.

Why are only existing projects/programs being encouraged?

The grant period is limited to about 15 months. Creating an entirely new project in that amount of time may be unrealistic. In evaluating each proposal, the Pathways team will consider the likelihood of success within the given timeframe. Proposals with the greatest potential for statewide adoption, scalability, and sustainability will be favored.

How many schools per district may participate?

No limit. Proposals with the greatest potential for statewide adoption, scalability, and sustainability will be favored.

My team is considering only applying to expand information technology pathways. Is that acceptable or do we need to include cybersecurity?

Yes, a program focusing on one would be eligible for consideration.

Since cybersecurity cuts across the IT program areas (programming, cloud computing, databases, web applications, networking) would a hybrid course sequence be applicable to increase enrollment in cyber?

The program described would be eligible for consideration.

Would the addition of a cybersecurity course to a health science, agriculture, or other pathway be considered a programmatic outcome?

The program described would be eligible for consideration.

Budget/Allowable Expenses

Can you tell me what type of funding this is? For instance, legislative appropriation.

Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, 2021, Pub. L. No. 116-260

How much funding is available?

In total, approximately $17 million will be awarded as subgrants to applicants to this subgrant program. Of that total, approximately one-third of available funds will be awarded as subgrants to applicants from the Tampa Bay area, as defined in the initial FLDOE grant; and approximately one-third will be awarded as subgrants to applicants from the Greater Miami area, also defined in the initial FLDOE grant. In addition, Cyber Florida has determined that the remainder of available funds will be awarded as subgrants to ‘at large’ applicants from other areas of the state.

The final number and size of projects that receive funding will be determined based on an evaluation of applications received. In that regard, among other factors, subgrant awards will fund those programs that potentially contribute the most to the overall purpose of the FLDOE grant, and as specified below, these must be included in a subgrant application.

What indirect cost rate applies to my proposal?

Please note that the Pathways program is a grant of federal funds from the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) to Cyber Florida at USF. You are applying for a sub-award to that grant. All sub-awards are subject to the same guidance on indirect costs issued by the FDOE for the initial grant.

FDOE will allow other state agencies, state universities, and state colleges to charge an indirect cost (administrative and/or overhead) up to 5% or the recipients rate approved by the appropriate cognizant agency, whichever is lower. This rate may be charged on the total direct costs dispersed less the amounts of subcontracts in excess of $25,000 and for items of equipment, alterations, renovations and flow through funds (“pass-through” to another entity) on programs issued by the department. This rate is intended to be all inclusive of typical administrative and overhead costs, including but not limited to rental of office space, costs for bookkeeping and accounting services, and utilities. In the alternative, the department will approve an indirect cost rate of 5% plus the Direct charges for typical administrative overhead costs, such as office space rental when such costs can be directly and appropriately allocated to the program.

How much will a typical award be for and how many will be awarded?
  • This is a new grant program, and largely unprecedented. The FDOE is asking for the best ideas from the education community across the state for projects that will increase the quantity and quality of job-ready cybersecurity/IT workers.
  • There is no individual proposal dollar limit on a proposal.
  • Your budget should be commensurate with your proposed outcomes, no more, no less.
  • Total available, approx. $17M, approx. 1/3 of those funds will be dispersed amongst individual projects within each of the three regions.
How much money is available for individual institutions?

There is no institutional dollar limit.

Is there a budget template for this proposal?

General pathways proposal budget template to serve as a guide for planning is available on our website here. For helpful insight on budget categories within allowable costs, please see these links for USF Guidelines as well as the Florida Department of Education Guidelines.

Do you have to spend the funds in one year?

All funds should be spent by August 2023.

What are allowable expenses?
  • Funds must be used solely for activities that directly support the accomplishment of the program purpose, priorities and expected outcomes during the program period. All expenditures must be consistent with the approved application, as well as applicable state and federal laws, regulations and guidance. Funds may be used to:
  • Hire qualified instructors.
  • Procure necessary equipment and supplies.
  • Subsidize tuition and fees for individuals enrolled in cybersecurity or cyber-related IT coursework.
  • Convene workgroups and sub-grantees for the purposes specifically set forth in this grant.
  • Recruit students into and retain students in cybersecurity and IT related programs.
  • Subsidize costs associated with technical or technology improvements to classrooms.
What are unallowable expenses?
  • Meals, refreshments, or snacks
  • Incentives (e.g., gift cards, plaques, trophies, stickers, t-shirts, give-a-ways)
  • Decorations
  • Purchase of facilities or vehicles (e.g., buildings, buses, vans, cars)
  • Land acquisition
  • Furniture
  • Kitchen appliances (e.g., refrigerators, microwaves, stoves, tabletop burners)
  • Capital improvements and permanent renovations (e.g., playgrounds, buildings, fences, wiring)
  • Costs not allowable for federal programs per the USDE General Administration Regulations (EDGAR), which may be found here and the Reference Guide for State Expenditures, which may be found here.
Can funds be used to upgrade a lab to meet industry standard needs?

Yes, subject to specific rules on allowable/unallowable expenses.

Will this grant cover the cost of a teacher as the grant begins and then the district would take over?

Yes, subject to specific rules on allowable/unallowable expenses.

Can the grant provide for the opportunity to renovate a classroom?

Refer to allowable/unallowable expenses. Yes, for equipment and supplies. No, for furniture, decorations, kitchen appliances, etc.

Does this grant pay for an instructor?

Yes, subject to specific rules on allowable/unallowable expenses.

Can you focus on Pre-K? Can you focus on a single grade level?

Yes, as long as it meets all other criteria. Proposals will be evaluated based on potential to contribute to the overall grant purpose of increasing quantity and quality of skilled cybersecurity/IT workers.

Can the funds be used to assist K-12 teachers in gaining industry certifications (e.g. CompTIA ITF+, Sec+, etc.)?

Yes, subject to specific allowable/unallowable expenses.

Are there any procedures we need to follow if one of our team members is an expert from out of state, and who we would like to compensate for their efforts on the proposal. They have no affiliation with a university, but are subject matter experts we feel comfortable working with. Are there any procedures we need to follow if one of our team members is an expert from within the state?

Subject to specific allowable/unallowable expenses.

Can we use this as an integrated training opportunity for adult education students?

Yes, as long as it is aligned with the purpose of the grant and meets the selection criteria

Can workforce readiness or certification prep be attached to existing degree or certificate programs?

Eligible

Can I use the grant for individual training for myself in order to provide better training for my students?

Yes, as long as it is aligned with the purpose of the grant and meets the selection criteria

Are there any limits to personnel support, participant support, or travel?

Refer to allowable/unallowable. No program-specific limits.

Can teacher professional development funds be used to get teachers certified to teach courses in the Cybersecurity/IT pathway?

Yes

Our district does not currently have a cybersecurity or IT teacher, can we use the funds for e-courseware and certification prep software?

Yes, subject to specific allowable/unallowable expenses.

Can a training program designed for workforce outcomes include funds for general employability skills?

Yes

Merit/Performance of Programs

Is there a penalty for not reaching proposed outcomes?
  • Non-performance is different than not reaching outcomes.
  • If you do what you say you are going to do and don’t achieve outcomes, that isn’t non-performance.
  • Any standard penalties for non-performance in federal and state rules apply.
Is an external evaluator required or can an internal evaluator be used?

An external or internal evaluator can be used but is not required.

Section IV.B. mentions Grant Coordinators – How often will inquiries be made concerning project status, budget, deliverables, and progress toward milestones? What type of data will be expected to be collected by the project team? Should the Evaluation Plan include data collection pertaining to these inquiries?

It depends on the specific needs of your project and it could vary greatly. The primary goal of the grant coordinator will be to help you succeed.

Can you elaborate on the Pathways Grant Goals so we can be sure to address these goals in our proposal?
  • To develop a highly skilled cybersecurity and IT workforce by expanding education/training programs through partnerships with business and industry and investments in critical infrastructure.
  • To identify and support a viable range of ‘proof of concept’ initiatives that can be expanded and scaled to strengthen the state’s cybersecurity and IT education pathways that best align Florida’s K-12 and postsecondary systems to Cyber/IT workforce demands.
  • Through the Cybersecurity and IT Pathways Expansion Grant, partnerships will:
    • Develop and implement education and training programs that integrate employer/industry involvement in program design and delivery.
    • Support hands-on, work-based learning and training opportunities.
    • Promote student enrollment and progression in cybersecurity/IT courses and educational programs from one level to the next
    • Prepare students for industry certification examinations.
    • Develop model articulation agreements and processes.
    • Design and develop new and emerging frameworks that support the evolving needs of business, industry, and the state.
    • Recommend policies, standards, and mechanisms (including web-based mechanisms) for long-term adoption and sustainability of Cyber/IT educational programs

Regional Coordination

What are the regions of the projects?

Region 1: Greater Tampa Bay Area, including the following counties: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Sarasota, and Manatee, including:

  • University of South Florida
  • Hillsborough School District
  • Pasco County Schools
  • Pinellas County Schools
  • Manatee School District
  • Sarasota County School District
  • Hillsborough Community College
  • Petersburg College
  • Pasco-Hernando State College
  • State College of Florida, Manatee –Sarasota
  • Polk State College

Region 2: Greater Miami Area, including the following counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, including:

  • Florida International University
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Miami-Dade Public Schools
  • Broward County Schools
  • Palm Beach County Schools
  • Miami Dade College
  • Broward College
  • Palm Beach State College

At-Large: All other geographical locations within the state of Florida not within Region 1 or Region 2

Where will the regional coordination offices be located?
  • Region 1 will be led by the University of South Florida
  • Region 2 will be led by Florida International University
  • At Large Region TBD
Would a state-wide proposal fit the “at large” applicant pool?

If your primary project team and/or activity is in the Tampa or Miami areas, apply there. State-wide scalability will be considered in all proposals.

Section IV.B. mentions Grant Coordinators – How often will inquiries be made concerning project status, budget, deliverables, and progress toward milestones? What type of data will be expected to be collected by the project team? Should the Evaluation Plan include data collection pertaining to these inquiries?

It depends on the specific needs of your project and it could vary greatly. The primary goal of the grant coordinator will be to help you succeed.

If a collaborative proposal is submitted involving one institution in one designated region with another institution outside of that region, which region would that application be categorized as?

The location of lead institution and key personnel will determine the region for the application. The other institution (s), whether located in a different designated region or within the at-large region, will be noted as such within the partnership details.

What if I have more questions or need more information?

Prospective applicants are encouraged to read all grant application materials carefully, and for any questions not answered in the FAQ section, please contact the Pathways Grant Program Office at pathways@cyberflorida.org.