NSU Celebrates Landmark Agreement to Increase HBCU Participation in Federal Contracting

Williams-and-Dr-J-(1).jpgOver the last decade, higher education institutions have received over $123 billion in federal contract funding revenue, but less than 1% of that funding has gone to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other minority serving institutions (MSIs). The federal government is mandated to give at least 3% to HBCUs, but that goal has not been met.

On Monday, January 13, Norfolk State University took a monumental step to remedy this disparity. President Javaune Adams-Gaston and Dr. Aurelia T. Williams, executive director of the NSU Cybersecurity Complex, attended the U.S. Treasury and General Services Administration’s official signing of the landmark agreement to increase HBCU funding in federal contracting.

These federal contracting opportunities will allow HBCUs to be more engaged in a private sector model that will create jobs and spark innovations that will scale across the entire HBCU ecosystem.

Last year, the Council Exchange Board of Trade (CEBOT) in partnership with their minority technology company members and NSU, responded to a Request for Information (RFI) presented by the Office of Management and Budget and the GSA for Technology Based Management (TBM). It proposes the inclusion of over 100 minority technology companies with a GSA schedule.

This RFI was accepted by GSA and illuminates the importance of the Treasury Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as NSU was included in Treasury's market research based on CEBOT's recommendation. 

“We need many more institutions to do something similar to this,” says Dr. Phyllis Dawkins, the National Executive Director of Higher Education for CEBOT.

Norfolk State University has already invested over $500,000 in infrastructure and technical assistance. The goal is to provide a framework for the minority technology industry, contractors and HBCUs. 

Funds will also be used to invest in a Governance Research Education Center of Excellence within the CyberComplex. Within the center, students will be able to research the governance, risk, and compliance side of cybersecurity providing a perfect complement to students who enter the MS in Cybersecurity with non-technical degrees. 

On the day of the MOU signing, the University also received a 2020 HBCU Visionary award given for the stellar leadership provided by Dr. Williams.

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Norfolk State University has now positioned itself as the HUB for an HBCU Collaborative Cohort to inform other HBCUs of Federal presence and funding opportunities, increase HBCU’s success at receiving funding, and provide HBCUs with real-life examples of best practices.