U.S. Sen. John Cornyn made an appearance Wednesday at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s soon-to-be-complete National Security Collaboration Center downtown, where he spoke about the impact of a bipartisan cybersecurity law he co-authored that was signed into law earlier this year.

The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act, introduced by Cornyn alongside U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), allows the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to work with a consortium of schools and universities, including UTSA, to develop curriculum for free courses in cybersecurity at these schools, among other cybersecurity-enhancing measures.

The legislation opens doors and raises awareness of the growing cybersecurity threat against the United States, as Cornyn and school administrators described it.

Students at UTSA will be able to take courses, free of charge, such as “Network Security for Homes and Small Businesses,” or “Understanding Social Engineering Attacks.”

“Cybersecurity is going to get nothing but more complex and more difficult,” Cornyn said. “UTSA will continue to play a critical role as an institution that convenes all these various elements that are critical to cyber-preparedness, and also prepare the students for the workforce of tomorrow.”

The Republican senator was joined by defense officials, school administrators and representatives from the City of San Antonio’s IT department. They participated in a roundtable discussion before Cornyn was taken on a tour of the new school building.

Scheduled to open in January 2023, the School of Data Science and the National Security Collaboration Center are envisioned to serve as a bridge between the university and San Antonio’s tech companies, with the goal of positioning both UTSA and the city as a magnet that will attract more companies with data science and cybersecurity needs to the area by creating a talented workforce pool.

Gregory White, director of UTSA’s Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security, said the legislation is the latest example of growing support from the federal government for cybersecurity.

“The whole point of this is to bring more attention to cybersecurity and specifically the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium,” he said. In that regard, “It’s been effective,” he said.

The consortium is envisioned to become a “one-stop shop” for information on cybersecurity preparedness for different layers of government, White said.

Waylon Cunningham covered business and technology for the San Antonio Report.