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Increasing the Role of HBCUs in Federal Contracting Process

Norfolk State University, the NSU Cybersecurity Complex and the National Minority Technology Council are joining forces to determine how Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) can have a larger share of federal research and development contracts.

An industry-driven research event, aimed at identifying the risks and the assets that HBCUs bring to federal contracting, was held November 8, at Norfolk State University’s Cybersecurity Complex, housed on the 6th floor of the Marie V. McDemmond Center for Applied Research. Students who attended the event had a chance to earn the Student Research Analyst I Badge.

Aurelia-T-Williams.jpg“I’m grateful for the historic and futuristic nature of this event,” said Aurelia T. Williams, executive director of the NSU Cybersecurity Complex. “The last time NSU and NMTC came together, the enterprise infrastructure and the Marie V. McDemmond Center for Applied Research were born. This event is the first of many where our students will be performing industry-recognized cybersecurity work role certifications.”

Research on HBCU federal transactions shows that less than one percent of public or private university federal contracting occurs with HBCUs. Additionally, a National Minority Technology Council study concludes that 11 federal agencies are authorized to enter into agreements other than the standard government contract. This authorization could greatly increase the participation of minority companies and open the way for them to enter the federal contracting process.

The event was expected to develop an analysis regarding HBCUs and the federal contracting process in order to help the U.S. government better understand where the gaps are and what assets each HBCU can offer. The National Minority Technology Council believes that working through the White House Initiative on HBCUs is one key to success in opening up the contracting process because it is well-suited to identify federal agency partners.