AUSTIN (KAMR/KCIT) — Today, the office of the governor said Governor Greg Abbott wanted to encourage Texas high school and college students to participate in CyberStart America (CSA) and Cyber FastTrack (CFT) which are online cybersecurity talent search and competition programs.

“As Texas’ technology industry continues to grow, it is more important now than ever for Texas to strengthen our cybersecurity workforce and talent development,” said Governor Abbott. “These immersive, online cybersecurity programs will help ensure high school and college students have the opportunity to develop crucial skills for high-demand jobs in this critical industry. CyberStart and Cyber FastTrack are engaging ways to jumpstart a career in cybersecurity, and I encourage Texas students to take advantage of this opportunity to become leaders in this important field. Together, we will continue to build a more secure Texas.”

The programs are sponsored by the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation and award over $20 million in scholarships to high-performing students.

Officials detailed that registration for both CSA and CFT is now open, with student play ending on March 15, 2024.  

The programs are open to all students in grades nine through 12. CSA provides students with access to over 200 security challenges “they can solve as cybersecurity agents investigating criminal gangs.”

“As students play, they develop cybersecurity skills and receive cybersecurity credentials for subjects that include coding, penetration testing, digital forensics,” said the news release.

The CFT program aims to simplify and accelerate college students’ path to a cybersecurity career by helping them develop advanced training and skills needed for the profession.

The news release said that currently, there are more than 58,000 cybersecurity-related job openings in Texas and over 660,000 open cyber-related jobs in the United States.

In 2020, the governor’s office said Abbott announced a partnership with CyberStart America to help promote the cybersecurity field for Texas high school students.

More information on CyberStart America and Cyber FastTrack.

For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.