Creative Solutions to Close the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

In the last 12 months, more than 769,000 cybersecurity jobs were posted in the United States. Unfortunately, there are not enough trained cyber professionals to meet this need across government and private industry, but the roles need to be filled. A report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in late 2021 named the cybersecurity skills gap as a leading cause of risk for Federal agencies. To meet this need and risk head-on, the government is coming up with creative ways to fill cyber positions.

Funding Scholarships

The DoD had been looking to set up military-style academies focused on cyber education; however, the direction has shifted in the latest National Defense Authorization Act. The latest proposal recommends establishing a DOD Cyber and Digital Service Academy within existing universities and colleges. This means that students studying certain cyber and digital service disciplines could receive up to five years of tuition and room and board. In exchange, recipients would agree to work for the DoD for the same number of years that they received the scholarship. This is not unprecedented. The National Science Foundation's CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program has been in place since 2000. It has placed over 4,500 people in government organizations including DoD, the National Security Agency and state and local governments in return for their scholarship.

Next Generation Apprenticeships

The Biden-Harris administration initiated an apprenticeship sprint designed to expand Registered Apprenticeships, a proven earn-while-you-learn model that aims to build a pipeline of skilled workers with a focus on underserved communities. As a result, 194 new cybersecurity apprenticeship programs have been approved or are under development, and 120 more cybersecurity-related occupations are being added to the program. The sprint resulted in 7,000 apprentices being hired with 42% of them being people of color and 32% female. Additionally, a number of private sector companies participated in the sprint, expanding their use of apprenticeships to broaden their cyber talent base.

This cooperation with the private sector extends beyond apprenticeships. The White House issued an RFI for ideas as to how they can bring needed talent into the public sector. Looking beyond traditional private industry responses, this RFI is seeking input from vendors as well as cybersecurity students and practitioners.

To expand your cybersecurity knowledge, check out these events and resources available on GovEvents and GovWhitePapers.

  • Cybersecurity Modernization Summit (March 2, 2023; virtual) - This event brings together cybersecurity leaders to explore the ongoing challenge of cybersecurity in the state and local government and higher education communities. They will discuss the ongoing battle in protecting critical infrastructure and constituent data with a focus on lessons learned about the everchanging cyber landscape.
  • Women in Cybersecurity 2023 Conference (March 16-18, 2023; Aurora, CO) - This event helps organizations recruit, retain and advance women in cybersecurity--all while creating a community of engagement, encouragement and support at a technical conference.
  • Cyber Defenders (March 30, 2023; webcast) - Government IT leaders are navigating constant threats of attacks and legacy technology patches in a remote working world. NextGov and GCN will examine the most important trends in cybersecurity across Federal, State, and Local governments. They'll cover the ins and outs of everything from how to handle ransomware to identity management, and foreign cyber threats with the leaders in the field.
  • RSA Conference 2023 (April 24-27, 2023; San Francisco, CA) - In the cybersecurity industry, no one goes it alone. Instead, we build on each other's diverse knowledge to create the next breakthrough--exchanging ideas, sharing our success stories, and bravely examining our failures. The 2023 theme is Stronger Together and programming will focus on how the IT industry can work together to meet today's cyber needs.
  • Institutional Cybersecurity From Military Perspective (white paper) - Individuals are at the bottom of the cybersecurity pyramid, followed by institutions, businesses, and military organizations in the middle, and finally, the government at the top. All levels of government must work together to ensure a strong cybersecurity policy in a nation. In this study, institutional cybersecurity from the military perspective is analyzed in light of possible challenges, organizational structure, the military decision making process (MDMP) and cybersecurity workforce.
  • Crucial Considerations for Federal Government Cybersecurity Strategies (white paper) - Read interviews with some of the brightest minds in national security, cybersecurity, and technology on challenges that government organizations face.
  • Cybersecurity and Talent Retention: Challenges and Successes of Remote Work (white paper) - Remote and hybrid workforces are not a new concept, and while they tout plentiful benefits for both employers and employees, government agencies are still navigating the changes brought upon by the rapid shift to remote work. Learn what Government experts shared about the challenges and successes with managing, retaining and recruiting talent in an evolving work environment, and why cybersecurity is a key to success.

For more on cybersecurity and cyber hiring trends visit GovEvents and GovWhitePapers.

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