USA’s plan to build its cyber workforce, improve skills-based pathways to cyber jobs

On July 19, 2022, National Cyber Director Chris Inglis hosted the National Cyber Workforce and Education Summit at the White House. The event focused on building the cyber workforce, improving skills-based pathways to cyber jobs, educating Americans so that they have the skills they need to thrive in a digital society, and improving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) in the cyber field.

The following organizations have made substantial announcements, commitments, or pledges in connection with the Summit:

Accenture is committed to creating access to new roles in cybersecurity, cloud, and other technical areas through its apprenticeship and upskilling programs. This is part of Accenture’s broader goal in the U.S. to fill 20% of entry-level roles from its apprenticeship program.

The Alperovitch Institute for Cybersecurity Studies has been established to train postgraduate students to become future policymakers and practitioners for leading firms and government agencies in the field of cybersecurity. They will also offer an executive education program to provide understanding of cyber issues to industry executives, boards of directors, Congressional staffers, government officials, and military and intelligence officers.

Auburn University’s Ginn College of Engineering commits to incorporate the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Cyber-Informed Engineering (CIE) Strategy throughout its engineering and computer science programs.

Cisco is committing to training an additional 200,000 students in the U.S. over the next three years and will continue to increase the reach and impact of its efforts.

CompTIA, in partnership with ConnectWise, will run a nationwide pilot program to fill cybersecurity roles for managed services providers. CompTIA will use its training and certifications to provide jobseekers the skills needed for a career in IT and help employers realize the benefits of IT apprenticeship.

The Council on Competitiveness National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers is launching two new working groups that will address how to advance and optimize cyber infrastructures of the future, including the robust cybersecurity and resiliency on which these digital platforms depend.

The Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI) has released a new guide to raise awareness and implementation of MFA among SMBs.

Dakota State University highlighted their $90 million investment for a cyber-research initiative supported by a multi-party, public-private partnership. These funds will be used to double the annual number of graduates of The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences over the next 5 years, launch a statewide Governor’s Cyber Academy accessible to all high school students, and build and operate an applied research laboratory facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Fortinet is furthering its commitment to close the cyber skills gap by making its information security awareness and training service available for free for all K-12 school districts across the U.S.

Girls Who Code will develop a coding challenge and activity sets focused on cybersecurity that will be geared toward middle and high school students, and implement workshops for Computer Science Education Week focused on cybersecurity and introductions to cryptography this fall.

IBM is creating more pathways to cybersecurity careers through its new Cybersecurity Leadership Centers with Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and is partnering with the American Council on Education (ACE) to translate cybersecurity apprenticeships into college credits.

(ISC)² announced the (ISC)² One Million Certified in Cybersecurity program, pledging to put one million people through its Certified in Cybersecurity entry-level certification exam and education program for free. (ISC)² also has committed that half of this investment – 500,000 course enrollments and exams – will be directed toward students of HBCUs, minority-serving institutions (MSIs), tribal organizations and women’s organizations across the U.S. and the globe.

The Linux Foundation (LF) is offering for free the Developing Secure Software training program, which is 15 hours of training across 3 modules (security principles; implementation considerations and software verification; and cloud security). The goal is to teach software developers how to develop more secure software from the beginning because that is much more efficient than finding and remediating vulnerabilities.

NightDragon, along with several industry partners, is creating the Cyber Talent Hub (CTH) because the Nation must leverage technology to better align the economic incentives of stakeholders involved in addressing the cyber talent shortage.

NPower will offer skill development opportunities and free IT training and credentials to military-connected individuals as well as young adults from underserved and underrepresented communities. NPower will increase the number of students in its Tech Fundamentals certification training by 50% within three years, thereby increasing its pipeline for advanced credentials in cloud computing and cybersecurity.

Trellix has undertaken numerous initiatives, including hiring 50 interns, partnering with the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) to launch a mentorship and educational program; and partnering with Gotara, a global career growth platform for women in STEM+.

In connection with the Summit, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the following actions:

National Cyber Director Chris Inglis committed to developing a National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy in coordination with other elements of the Executive Office of the President (EOP) as well as Federal departments and agencies, with input from key public and private stakeholders.

Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo and Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh announced a 120-day Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint that they are leading with support from other Federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, the Office of Personnel Management, and others.

Ambassador Susan E. Rice announced efforts to strengthen the K-12 system to more effectively prepare students for job opportunities in cybersecurity. Specifically, 1) the National Security Agency is supporting an initiative by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education that will provide technical assistance to state and local educational agencies to accelerate the development, adoption, and implementation of middle grades CTE programs focused on emerging career pathways, such as space and cybersecurity; and 2) the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education will make its Cybersecurity Workforce Framework—which provides a range of cyber curricula and resources—easier to use for K-12 teachers and leaders by creating a K12 Educator FAQ resource.

A video recording of the Summit’s keynote session is available here.

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