BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Bismarck State College has partnered with a California-based company to address a growing gap in computer safety jobs.

The school is teaming up with Palo Alto Networks to expand its current cybersecurity program, the Bismarck Tribune reported . Palo Alto CEO Mark Anderson announced the partnership at a cybersecurity conference in May.

The college has been known for its energy industry programs, but President Larry Skogen said he'd like to shift focus.

"This is huge that a company ... would sign its first education partnership with Bismarck State College to address the issue of cybersecurity in the nation," Skogen said.

Bismarck State will offer classes using curriculum from the cybersecurity firm. It will also add more networking equipment, create an online training center and open a cybersecurity academy for teachers on how to incorporate cybersecurity education into K-12 classrooms.

"With this partnership, we'll grow our program, increase our student base and not just reach Bismarck, but the region and hopefully the nation at some point," said Matt Frohlich, an associate professor of computers and office technology.

Cybersecurity jobs are in high demand and are expected to grow 28 percent through 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ransomware attacks increased by 36 percent in 2016 compared with the previous year, software company Symantec reported last year.

The college aims to use the partnership to help train more women and other demographics. Skogen said the partnership also aligns with Gov. Doug Burnum's K-20 workforce initiative to bolster cyber education in K-12 schools and higher education.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com