The University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering announced a three-year collaboration with Target that includes a $250,000 donation from Target to fund programs that will educate the next generation of cybersecurity experts.

The donation, provided by Target’s Cybersecurity department, is Target’s first major gift to the University’s College of Science and Engineering. The gift helps build course curriculum and offers hands-on information security experiences, student scholarships, fellowships and grants, as well as opportunities for students to network with cyber security experts.

“We’re grateful to Target for supporting the University in our efforts to build the pipeline of high-tech workers in this state and around the world,” said Mostafa Kaveh, dean of the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering. “When industry and academia work together to solve problems, great things can happen. We look forward to collaborating with Target for many years.”

One of the highlights of the new collaboration is a year-long, in-depth capstone project in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering where the University and Target will provide students with hands-on technical experience prior to graduation. The instructor and students will work with leadership at Target to solve a real-world industry problem and develop solution considerations.

“Over the next 10 years, it’s predicted that half of all cybersecurity positions in the U.S. will be vacant,” said Rich Agostino, chief information security officer at Target. “As one of the largest employers in the Twin Cities, we know we have a responsibility to help build the cybersecurity talent pipeline. Our team has been working closely with the University of Minnesota on a unique collaboration that not only helps educate the next generation of cybersecurity leaders, but also provides training and leadership opportunities to Target’s team.”

Target’s donation also includes funding to directly support students. Target will award seven undergraduate student scholarships at $5,000 each that began with the Fall 2019 semester.

In addition to the capstone course and scholarships, Target will provide funding to computer science-related student groups for events such as conferences, workshops and hackathons.