What’s going on:
The Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) has announced a wide-ranging partnership to address the shortage of cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. This initiative involves nine government agencies, more than 200 nonprofits, and multiple corporations, colleges, and universities, according to The Record.
The National Cyber and Workforce Education Strategy will provide over $24 million in grants for cybersecurity education in various states. This funding will also provide scholarships for cybersecurity education at seven higher education institutions — including Tuskegee University.
Other major agencies, such as the Department of Labor and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, are also planning to contribute to the effort. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is set to allocate up to $3.6 million in a bid to stimulate regional projects focused on cybersecurity education and workforce development. The Department of Labor has also pledged a substantial investment of $65 million. The Record reports that this fund is set for grants that will be extended to 45 states and territories — with the primary aim of cultivating and eventually expanding apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity.
Why it matters:
According to Forbes, the U.S. has hundreds of thousands of unfilled cybersecurity job vacancies. Filling these roles is essential not only to national security and safety, but also to economic growth because it’s creating more opportunities for good-paying jobs.
This initiative aims to fill these vacancies on top of other efforts to help boost diversity within the sector. Internet/tech entrepreneurs are also getting involved in the coalition. The founder of Craigslist, Craig Newmark, stated he has pledged to increase his philanthropic commitment by doubling his philanthropy’s existing $50 million in grants, according to The Record. A significant portion of those contributions will be directed towards organizations dedicated to enhancing cyber capabilities — with a particular emphasis on fostering diversity and inclusion in the cyber field.
How it’ll impact the future:
This major U.S. workforce initiative could help alleviate the critical shortage of cybersecurity professionals by providing both educational opportunities and training for a new generation of skilled workers. Additionally, by placing more emphasis on boosting diversity within the sector, the field will likely open up more opportunities for underrepresented communities. These efforts could change the demographic makeup of the cybersecurity workforce. If successful, the initiative may also serve as a model for similar efforts in other sectors facing major workforce shortages.