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Will this Georgia town protect the country from cyber crime?

Georgia is home to a growing, if surprising, tech hub: Augusta.

Nearly 70 percent of the country’s financial transactions come through Georgia, according to a 2014 report from Georgia Governor Deal. And with Cyber Command and the Georgia Cryptologic Center, a 600,000-square-foot facility employing more than 4,000 people, Fort Gordon solidifies Augusta, known primarily for hosting the Masters Golf Tournament, as a major hub for cybersecurity.

The military base, which generates more than $2 billion annually for the region, will nearly double its employees by 2019. Additionally, about $250 million in construction projects are planned to support this huge expansion — growth that has not gone unrecognized by cybersecurity businesses. 

Last year, theClubhou.se, a tech business incubator, moved into a 180,000-square-foot building in Augusta. In addition to the 100 mentoring sessions it hosts, monthly hackathons and TEDx events, it provides computer and electronic labs and co-working.

Unisys Corp., a global information technology company, will be setting up shop in a 118,000-square-foot building, and will provide technical solutions to Augusta's business community.

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All of this synergy has created a problem that Georgia is desperate to solve: thousands of critical, high-paying jobs are going unfilled.

Last year, the state had more than 8,000 openings in cybersecurity, but had only about 50 college graduates qualified to fill them. These openings will double in just four years.

"There is a huge demand," said Paul Bowers, chair of the Georgia Board of Regents Economic Development Committee. " ... This is a growing opportunity for students to get engaged in, and everybody is looking for these resources. This is a great path for us to be on from an economic development standpoint."

Revised 9/23/15

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