Thursday, May 30 2024

The rapid rate at which digital technology has transformed many Americans’ daily lives has led to a discrepancy between such change and current levels of cyber education and workforce development. Aiming to bridge this gap, the Biden-Harris Administration recently released the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy, with plans to strengthen the cyber workforce and connect people to quality jobs all for the purpose of advancing societal welfare, prosperity, and security.

The Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) will oversee the implementation of the official plan as directed by the President and through collaboration with interagency partners to determine specifics such as responsibilities, metrics, and timelines. Additionally, it will adhere to a data-driven approach to ensure performance results. The ONCD will work with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to align budget proposals with the strategy’s goals as well as with Congress to prioritize equipping Americans with essential cyber skills. 

The new plan’s main goals are divided into four pillars. The first, “Equip Every American With Foundational Cyber Skills,” focuses on making cyber skill learning opportunities accessible to the general public, inspiring Americans to pursue cybersecurity careers, and fostering global progress in these foundational skills through international collaboration. The second pillar, “Transform Cyber Education,” aims to improve cyber education through increased investments and ecosystem engagement, expanding competency-based cyber education, and making cyber education and training more affordable and accessible. The third, “Expand and Enhance America’s Cyber Workforce,” involves promoting skills-based hiring practices and supporting underserved communities. The final pillar, “Strengthen the Federal Cyber Workforce,” promotes active and sustained collaboration, attracting and hiring a both qualified and diverse workforce, and improving career pathways within the cyber field. 

The strategy comes as the federal government takes greater action within the cyber realm. The White House proposed a new cybersecurity labeling program for smart devices to help Americans more easily choose products less vulnerable to cyberattacks. It also released the National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan earlier in July, calling for changes in how the U.S. directs jobs, responsibilities, and tools in the cybersecurity industry.

Other organizations have also been working to address this issue, highlighted by (ISC)²’s announcement that over 27,000 individuals achieved the entry-level certification in their Certified in Cybersecurity℠ (CC) certification program and more than 265,000 others enrolled. 

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