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Regions Foundation awards UWF gift to train veterans for careers in cybersecurity

The University of West Florida announced a $175,000 gift from Regions Foundation, the nonprofit initiative of Regions Bank that supports community investments, to sponsor an innovative cybersecurity workforce development program designed to train veterans across Northwest Florida and South Alabama. The gift was presented at a check ceremony on Oct. 7, 2020, at the UWF Center for Cybersecurity.

Dr. Eman El-Sheikh, director of the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, and Scott Barrow, Pensacola market executive for Regions Bank

“The Regions Foundation is committed to supporting education opportunities that advance career development,” said Marta Self, executive director of the Regions Foundation. “At a time when cybersecurity is so critical to every part of our lives, this program is creating pathways for veterans to continue their service to keep us safe. The Foundation is pleased to make this investment and advance the great work the Center for Cybersecurity is doing every day.”

Designated as the Southeast Regional Hub for National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity by the National Security Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the UWF Center for Cybersecurity is nationally recognized for its workforce development programs. The cybersecurity workforce shortage is nearly 24,000 in Florida, 6,000 in Alabama and tops 500,000 nationwide according to CyberSeek, a comprehensive cybersecurity workforce analytics website. Dr. Eman El-Sheikh, director of the Center for Cybersecurity, said both public and private sector organizations seek veterans to fill cybersecurity positions.

“We are honored to work with Regions Foundation on this important initiative to prepare veterans for cybersecurity careers,” El-Sheikh said. “Veterans are ideal candidates for the cybersecurity workforce because they have demonstrated dedication through their service to our country, work well in a team environment, and have or can hopefully obtain security clearance required for many cybersecurity positions. Northwest Florida has a robust population of veterans and a booming cybersecurity industry. This program will recruit, prepare and place veterans into cybersecurity roles to enhance workforce and economic development in our region.”

The Center for Cybersecurity will utilize its Cybersecurity for All® program to train veterans for cybersecurity careers. Established in 2019, Cybersecurity for All® provides accelerated, flexible education and training pathways for individuals and organizations across sectors, including government, defense and the private sector. The program leverages the Florida Cyber Range®, a state-of-the-art virtual environment housed at the Center that develops hands-on skills and competencies through cybersecurity exercises and scenarios.

“We have many veterans living in Pensacola, Mobile and beyond who want new career opportunities,” said Scott Barrow, Pensacola market executive for Regions Bank. “This grant from the Regions Foundation to the Cybersecurity Center is a welcomed opportunity for them. Regions Bank is committed to supporting education and workforce development opportunities as part of our priorities for community engagement.”

For more information about Regions Bank, visit For more information about the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, visit

About Regions Financial Corporation
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $144 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,400 banking offices and 2,000 ATMs. Regions Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at

About Regions Foundation
The Alabama-based Regions Foundation supports community investments that positively impact communities served by Regions Bank. The Foundation engages in a grantmaking program focused on priorities including economic and community development; education and workforce readiness; and financial wellness. The Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation funded primarily through contributions from Regions Bank.