- Biden administration officials are launching a 120-day Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint, part of a wider effort to fill a long-standing workforce shortage. Talent gaps have left security operations teams unable to properly monitor and respond to a growing number of malicious cyberattacks, software vulnerabilities and ransomware.
- Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the apprenticeship sprint during the National Cyber Workforce and Education Summit at the White House on Tuesday. The summit was attended by administration officials and top executives from the cybersecurity and software industries.
- The sprint is a partnership between the Labor, Commerce and other federal agencies and the White House Office of National Cyber Director to help industry associations, private employers, unions and others fill more than 700,000 open cybersecurity positions.
There are currently 714 registered apprenticeship programs and more than 42,000 apprentices in cybersecurity-related positions.
The Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint is designed to build upon the existing progress, where officials will work with various groups in the education sector, including K-12 and higher ed, workforce partners and other programs to increase the number of skilled cybersecurity professionals.
Susan Rice, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, told the White House Summit that the number of threats to critical infrastructure, stolen data and election interference has only increased since her tenure as national security adviser under President Barack Obama.
However, there remains a severe lack of diversity in the industry, Rice said. Women make up only 25% of the cybersecurity workforce, and only 9% of the security workforce identifies as Black and 4% as Hispanic.
“We have to do better,” Rice said. “Not in service of some ideal, but because America is safer and stronger when we bring everybody to the table.”
Rice announced that the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education at the Department of Commerce will make its Cybersecurity Workforce Framework — which includes cyber curricula and resources — easier to use for K-12 teachers. Rice also said the National Security Agency is supporting an initiative by the Department of Education to help middle schools put career and technical education programs in place for space and cybersecurity.