August 9, 2023
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration participated in a regional cyber workforce summit focused on expanding access to good-paying, middle-class jobs for all Nevadans at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), a Minority-Serving and Hispanic-Serving Institution. Multiple organizations, along with the Biden Administration, announced significant commitments addressing the national security imperative to grow the cyber workforce in Nevada.
This work builds off of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which is delivering historic cyber investments in the state. For example, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates $56 million in resilience and $2.4 million for the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program to address cybersecurity risks to information systems in Nevada.
Currently, there are over 6,000 open cyber jobs across Nevada, 4,085 of which are based in the Las Vegas metro area alone. More than 60 students from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), Clark County School District, and College of Southern Nevada (CSN) attended the summit which included a tour of the Cyber Escape Room, the first-of-its-kind education and awareness facility in the United States.
Guests from the Las Vegas cyber ecosystem, including employers, academia, and training institutions, discussed how the implementation of the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy (NCWES) can open up opportunities to help fill thousands of open cyber jobs to boost the local economy, while also keeping Nevada’s cyberspace secure and resilient.
Acting National Cyber Director Kemba Walden delivered a keynote speech outlining the strategy’s four pillars and guiding imperatives. A panel discussion comprised of sector stakeholders from academia, non-profit, and the government followed. The panelists previewed their work, highlighting current and upcoming initiatives directly aligned with lines of effort in the strategy to grow and diversify the cyber workforce. Summit host UNLV presented its cybersecurity program and Free Cyber Clinic to the audience. UNLV is a designated National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense, a premier program managed by the National Security Agency (NSA).
In association with the summit, The White House announced the following partner-commitments relating to implementation of the NCWES:
University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)
UNLV has received funding from the federal government for cybersecurity education, enabling it to bring on fifty students per year as paid interns at its Free Cyber Clinic. Through this experience, students will get hands-on cyber experience from small business clients, training for the Security+ and Certified Ethical Hacker certifications plus exam fee support, and support for attending cybersecurity conferences such as DEFCON.
Western Governors University (WGU)
Western Governors University (WGU) committed to developing a skilled and robust national cybersecurity workforce. WGU currently serves almost 500 Nevada-based learners in its cybersecurity programs, and projections anticipate that they will accept and enroll over 550 additional students direct from Nevada into their cybersecurity degree programs over the next 12 months. Currently over half of the current cybersecurity student population from Nevada represents a traditionally underserved population, with a significant portion identifying as a first-generation student, and WGU is committed to continuing this trend. During the next six to nine months, WGU will make digital credential wallets available to its students to identify and showcase their skills, align its program to a variety of occupations, and support students applying for jobs with employers who are seeking skilled talent. WGU will also will continue its competency-based education approach with an emphasis on hands-on experience and problem-solving abilities.
CYBER.ORG supports the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy by focusing on K-12 cybersecurity education as the foundation for building success. In the next 5 years, across all 50 states, CYBER.ORG commits to: (1) develop 1,300 cybersecurity lessons, activities, competitions, games, and career resources; (2) engage with 50,000 educators and caregivers and provide cybersecurity content to teach students; (3) impact over 6 million students through teachers and caregivers; and (4) host 1,250 cybersecurity training events impacting 32,500 educators and caregivers. CYBER.ORG, , with support from school districts, the state department of education, and elected officials, will have a significant impact in the state of Nevada. Over the next year, CYBER.ORG will host or participate in three events in Nevada: DEF Con, Black Girls Hack Squad Con, and the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education Conference.
BattleBots is announcing the creation of the Bot Builders Foundation, which will develop and lead the National BattleBots Collegiate and High School Championship. This competition will impact hundreds of students nationwide, commencing in 2024. BattleBots also affirms its special commitment to empowering the local Las Vegas community through initiatives aimed at inspiring and engaging traditionally underrepresented youth in STEM disciplines. These endeavors will include educational field trips and impactful school visits, with the intention of reaching and positively influencing the lives of over 500 students during the upcoming academic year.
Fortinet is announcing its new Security Awareness Curriculum for K-12 students to help close the cyber skills gap and develop the cyber aware workforce of the future. Resources – crafted by former educators – include a comprehensive Teacher’s Guide, and classroom resources such as videos, handouts, and lesson plans. This initiative will be available at no cost to school districts and systems across the United States beginning in the Fall of 2023. This effort will help educate students to become the cyber problem-solvers of the future and ensure they are well-equipped to safely navigate the digital world. This curriculum can help over 55 million K-12 students across the country, including more than 500,000 students in Nevada, apply cybersecurity skills at school, home, and everywhere they go.
Hewlett Packard (HP Inc.)
HP is increasing its free Future of Work Academy (FOWA) for Community and Technical Colleges to nearly 100 institutions and over 500 students from across the country, including community colleges in Nevada. FOWA equips students with career readiness through an interactive symposium, an innovation incubator, and a career accelerator. In addition, students will have increased opportunities with top tech firms recruiting for full-time positions and internships.
DruvStar has committed to providing paid internships to five UNLV students a year. This internship will enable these students to receive hands-on cyber work experience and financial assistance when attending cybersecurity conferences such as DEFCON. These interns will also receive DruvStar training on common cyber-attack patterns and on Artificial Intelligence technologies.
The National Cyber Scholarship Foundation (NCSF)
In the 2023-24 schoolyear, NCSF plans to provide gamified cyber learning to more than 800 students in Nevada from over 65 schools. Through public private partnerships, they anticipate over 80 students will receive more than $270,000 in scholarships to get industry training and certifications from the SANS Institute. Additionally, NCSF seeks to collaborate with leaders in Las Vegas and Reno to establish a state task force in Nevada to amplify the impact of cyber education programs across the state.
ThriveDX is committed to increasing employment and training opportunities for underrepresented and underserved communities in the cybersecurity field. In partnership with BlackGirlsHack, ThriveDX has formed and launched a cybersecurity scholars program concurrently with the launch of the National Cybersecurity Workforce and Education Strategy. This ThriveDX scholars program provides 25 learners from BlackGirlsHack with full tuition scholarships to participate in for the ThriveDX Cybersecurity Professional Certificate Training Program. This includes skills-based training, wrap around services, career support, and job placement. In addition, ThriveDX is announcing that it will extend their existing collaboration with the local community of Nevada through their partnership with UNLV’s Division of Educational Outreach. ThriveDX has committed to awarding 25 additional full tuition scholarships to lifelong learners in underserved, under-resourced, and US military veteran communities in Nevada.
To learn more about the strategy and ongoing efforts by our stakeholders – including educators, industry, and government – visit WhiteHouse.gov/cyberworkforce.