Today in Chicago, the Biden-Harris Administration continued its National Cyber Workforce Education roadshow by joining a roundtable to discuss cyber skills development hosted by the Board of Directors of Manufacturing x Digital (MxD). The Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) met with more than a half dozen colleges, consortia, and education partners to discuss how we can collectively implement the recently-released National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy (NCWES) and encourage deeper engagement within local cyber ecosystems. Today’s roundtable also explored ways to work together to support cybersecurity and technical training for Veterans, as well as individuals with disabilities. With this new level of collaboration, six organizations made commitments that will help train and foster the cyber workforce.
Acting Principal Deputy National Cyber Director Jake Braun discussed the importance of continuing to address cyber workforce demands, build long-term workforce capacity and position all Americans to benefit from the enormous potential of our interconnected future. He also pointed out the importance of the commitments made today by MxD and others as a way to expand access to good-paying, middle-class jobs for the people of Illinois.
There are over 25,000 open cyber jobs across Illinois, nearly 20,000 of which are based in the Chicago metro area alone. Braun encouraged partners to continue identifying projects that take advantage of funding from the CHIPS and Science Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Inflation Reduction Act as pathways to cyber jobs. Thanks to these federal government investments, companies and communities alike can increase access to cybersecurity jobs and training. In Illinois specifically, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates $1.2 billion for resilience and over $8.8 million for the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program to address cybersecurity risks to information systems in the state.
All attendees and guests were encouraged to visit whitehouse.gov/cyberworkforce and encouraged to make a commitment to strengthening the American cyber workforce. This collaborative tool, hosted by ONCD, highlights commitments by business, civil society and government entities to support the implementation of the NCWES.
In association with the roundtable, The White House announced the following commitments:
CyberSkills2Work, a nationally scalable program based at the University of West Florida and supported by a coalition of 10 National Centers of Academic Excellence-designated higher ed institutions across the country, commits to adding 1,520 cybersecurity professionals to the nation’s cyber workforce over the next two years. The program also commits to expanding its support from active duty and transitioning military personnel to first responders, military spouses, women, underrepresented minorities, and government personnel. The program will offer 22 additional training pathways that prepare learners for 16 cybersecurity work roles and 17 industry certifications. A $2.5 million NSA expansion grant funds this effort.
Task Force Movement
Task Force Movement (TFM) prepares Transitioning Service Members, Veterans, including disabled Veterans, and Military families with the tools they need to engage in cybersecurity career pathways via scholarships and public private partnerships. In addition to the 50 scholarships TFM previously announced it will award over the next year, TFM is committing to expand this effort to directly support state and local leaders in implementing their own Task Force Movement programs, starting with two states in the first year.
College of Lake County
The College of Lake County (CLC) in Grayslake, IL commits to using funds received through a federal grant to convene a group of 50 manufacturing employers and grow the manufacturing sector by expanding education and training, including cyber skill development, in the second largest manufacturing county in the state of Illinois. CLC also commits to expanding its Advanced Technology Center (ATC), dedicated to Industry 4.0 training and education, to incorporate critical, complementary workforce needs such as cybersecurity, data analytics, mechatronics, and robotics.
Northern Illinois Workforce Coalition (NIWC) Cybersecurity Career Pathway
NIWC, a regional consortium of 11 community colleges connected to local workforce boards, commits to develop an IT training program to prepare individuals for entry to cybersecurity certificate and degree programs from which graduates have the appropriate knowledge to thrive in this sector. The approach intends to remove barriers, accelerate entry into highly specialized cybersecurity careers, and create greater access to a diverse talent pool for the IT industry.
Access Living is committed to launching an Independent Living Technology Program to address the gap in digital skills in the disability community with the goal of reaching 150 disabled participants by the end of 2024. Participants will identify an independent living goal to achieve using technology like looking for work, job training, or accessing information and services. They will then attend Access Living’s disability centered technology training course and receive one-on-one support. Upon completion, participants who need it will be given their own laptop or tablet and a year of free internet access. Funding for this program is in part from a federal grant. Access Living is also committed to expanding its consulting and training services to include a team of certified digital accessibility specialists, all of whom have disabilities themselves. The team aims to improve internet and digital product accessibility not just for Access Living’s clients but overall by centering lived experience with disability in its consultation, evaluation, and remediation of websites, portals, apps, and other digital content and interfaces to ensure they meet or exceed accessibility standards.
MxD is a Chicago-based national advanced manufacturing institute that includes nearly 300 partners from industry, academia, non-profit organizations, and government to help manufacturers improve their operations and drive productivity improvements. MxD, in collaboration with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, created the Cybersecurity for Manufacturing Operational Technology (CyMOT) program to increase the security of U.S. manufacturers from cyber-attacks by providing role-based training to the next generation of cybersecurity workers in manufacturing. The 60 hour live-instruction course series targets roles in Artificial Intelligence engineering and cybersecurity and has been utilized by MxD partners including Boeing, Dow, and Rolls-Royce to provide more than 175 current and future workers with skills unique to securing the manufacturing floor. The CyMOT course series is tailored to meet the needs of each learner, including current manufacturing workers looking to upskill and future workers still learning the basics. MxD commits to use the CyMOT curriculum and other courses to train, certify, and provide employment opportunities to underserved students at community colleges and historically Black colleges and universities across the United States.
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