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Every year in October, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) dedicates the month to Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

During this time, they provide vital cybersecurity tips and resources to educate the public, businesses, and organizations of all levels.

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The National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) launched a career program called “See Yourself In Cyber” in 2023, which is aimed at changing the perception around cybersecurity careers.

Their goal is to show students that there are multiple pathways to a successful career in cybersecurity, and it is a field for everyone.

The program’s first year successfully connected over 1,000 students with recruiters and professionals at on-campus events across nine schools. Additionally, 142 students were paired with cybersecurity mentors.

This fall, the NCA will hold events at five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), which will feature public and private sector employers, guest speakers, recruiters, and local law enforcement departments to showcase the various career paths offered in cybersecurity and opportunities available in their communities.

In collaboration with the Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics, Google.org has committed over $20 million to help thousands of students gain hands-on experience in cybersecurity.

This funding will support the creation and expansion of cybersecurity clinics at 20 higher education institutions across America.

Google.org is also committed to providing expert volunteers as student mentors to cyber clinics nationwide in collaboration with the Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics and select universities. The cyber clinics will receive access to the Google Cybersecurity Certificate, Google Titan security keys, and student mentorship opportunities from Google at no cost.

ITSMF aims to increase the cybersecurity workforce pipeline by 10% by 2026 and raise the number of Black chief information security officers (CISOs) by the same percentage.

The Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) is committed to increasing the representation of talented Black professionals in cyber and risk management at senior levels, resulting in industry innovation, growth, and thought leadership.

Microsoft and Black Tech Street have announced a historic long-term alliance for Historic Greenwood, the neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as “Black Wall Street.”

The alliance, dubbed “The Digital Transformation of Black Wall Street to Black Tech Street,” aims to restore Greenwood’s position as a national hub for Black talent and innovation with an initial focus on Cyber.

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The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) promotes diversity in the cyber workforce, exposes young people to careers in cybersecurity, and bridges the current cyber gap with women in cybersecurity and tech.

CISA partners with organizations like Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Who Code and Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) to achieve these goals.

In July 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration unveiled the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy (NCWES) to address the critical need for filling vacant cyber jobs.

The national security imperative aims to empower every American to participate in the digital ecosystem and create a culture of cyber readiness.

In August 2023, the Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI) and the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation (CCTI) launched the Phased Critical Infrastructure Pilot: Resiliency for Water Utilities.

The initiative aims to provide basic cybersecurity training to up to 200 small water utilities and promote a culture of cyber readiness. Microsoft is sponsoring the initiative to help secure the nation’s water infrastructure from cyber threats.

The pilot is based on the CRI’s Cyber Readiness Program, designed to assist small- and medium-sized businesses in improving their cybersecurity risk management and ability to respond and recover from cybersecurity incidents. CRI and CCTI will also use the initiative to create a better understanding of the level of cyber readiness across water utilities.

The NCWES aims to complement existing efforts to support working families, such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. It focuses on empowering Americans to pursue careers in cybersecurity and envisions a skills-based digital future where workers can access cyber jobs within their communities.

The strategy also aims to enable educators to continuously upskill the public and employers to diversify their workforce. The NCWES was developed with non-governmental stakeholder groups, including private industry, academia, nonprofits, and government partners, and it seeks to build and enhance collaboration around four pillars:

1. Equip Every American with Foundational Cyber Skills – enable everyone to enjoy the full benefits of our interconnected society.
2. Transform Cyber Education – address the immediate demand for a skilled cyber workforce while preparing learners to meet the future needs of a dynamic technological environment.
3. Expand and Enhance the National Cyber Workforce – collaborate with various stakeholders, adopt a skills-based approach to recruitment and development, and increase access to cyber jobs for all Americans, including underserved and underrepresented groups.
4. Strengthen the Federal Cyber Workforce – communicate the benefits of careers in public service amongst both job seekers and current employees and lower the barriers associated with hiring and onboarding.

Several federal agencies and nonprofit organizations have taken various initiatives to support the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy.

For instance, the National Science Foundation plans to invest over $24 million in CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service (SFS) awards over the next four years. These awards will help tackle the unique challenges associated with recruiting and retaining cybersecurity professionals for careers in federal, local, state, or tribal governments.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program for Veterans is set to start recruiting and onboarding its first cybersecurity apprenticeship cohort during the first quarter of 2024 (January-March). The two-year developmental program within the V.A. Cybersecurity Operations Center will provide cybersecurity apprentices with hands-on learning and development experience and encourage them to pursue a career in the federal cybersecurity workforce.

The Task Force Movement (TFM) also contributes to the cause by awarding cybersecurity scholarships to transitioning service members, veterans, or military spouses.

TFM plans to fund 50 award recipients in 2024 to pursue quality certification courses for career pathway entry in the cybersecurity ecosystem, with plans to expand the program in future years. TFM will also align the award recipients with employer partners committed to hiring them upon course completion.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that it will award $65 million in competitive grants to develop and scale registered apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity and other critical sectors.

To support this initiative, the DOL has also created a new Registered Apprenticeship industry intermediary called Safal Partners LLC, whose focus will be launching, promoting, and expanding Registered Apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity. /

In the second quarter of 2024 (April 1 – June 30), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will partner with federal agencies, the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) Council Recruitment and Outreach Working Group, and external good-government groups to host a second Tech to Gov Job Fair.

Additionally, OPM is conducting an occupational study to establish or update one or more occupational series covering federal government positions in software development, software engineering, data science, and data management.

OPM will also explore Digital Career work in the Federal government to determine workforce needs and policy requirements supporting a Federal Digital Careers workforce.

Meanwhile, the Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) will create dedicated recruitment materials in time for the Summer 2024 intern application season.

The National Security Agency (NSA) aims to increase the number of National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) designated institutions to 460 by the end of 2024, which will serve a projected 174,000 students annually. NSA also sponsors GenCyber summer camps each year, aiming for at least 100 centers nationwide, serving 2,800 students and 600 teachers.

Check Point Software has committed to training one million individuals in cybersecurity skills through its MIND Cyber Security Training Program by 2028. This program offers free training kits to all educational organizations in the United States and will also include training for instructors and teachers through the SecureAcademy program.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) supports the U.S. Cyber Games. This program engages with over 2,000 individuals in the yearly U.S. Cyber Open and prepares over 150 students annually through months-long U.S. Cyber Combine and Pipeline programs.

In cooperation with Katzcy, a digital marketing firm, the U.S. Cyber Games aims to recruit, train, and develop a team representing the United States in international cybersecurity competition.

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