America needs well trained professionals working in cybersecurity roles. These professionals are critical in both private industry and the government for the security of individuals and the nation. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity workforce through standardizing roles and helping to ensure we have well-trained cybersecurity workers today as well as a strong pipeline of future cybersecurity leaders of tomorrow.
Increase and Strengthen the Future Cybersecurity Workforce
Starting with our country’s youngest students, DHS has partnered with not-for profits, middle and high schools, Universities, and State school boards across the country to help incorporate cybersecurity concepts into our nation’s classrooms. For the past four years, DHS has partnered with the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), a not-for profit academic development center to provide K-12 cybersecurity curricula and hands-on professional development for teachers at no cost. To date, the grant has helped get this cybersecurity curricula into the hands of over 15,000 teachers impacting 820,000 students in 42 States. Individual states can work with DHS and NICERC to approve the curricula state-wide.
As greater priority is placed on strengthening cybersecurity, our nation is increasingly looking to higher education to produce skilled and capable cybersecurity professionals able to defend our networks and infrastructure. In response, DHS and The National Security Agency (NSA) jointly sponsor the National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) program, designating specific 2- and 4-year colleges and universities as top schools in Cyber Defense (CD). Schools are designated based on their robust degree programs and close alignment to specific cybersecurity-related knowledge units (KUs), validated by top subject matter experts in the field. CAE graduates help protect national security information systems, commercial networks, and critical information infrastructure in the private and public sectors.
To encourage students to enter cybersecurity degree programs, DHS co-sponsors the CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service (SFS)— providing scholarships for bachelors, masters, and graduate degree programs focusing in cybersecurity in return for service in Federal, State, local, or tribal governments upon graduation. The scholarship assists in funding the typical costs incurred by full-time students while attending a participating institution, including tuition and education and related fees. The scholarships are funded through grants awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in partnership with DHS and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
Advancing the Cybersecurity Profession
The National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework is the foundation for increasing the size and capability of the U.S. cybersecurity workforce. It is a national resource that categorizes, organizes, and describes cybersecurity work. The National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework provides educators, students, employers, employees, training providers and policy makers with a system for organizing the way we think and talk about cybersecurity work, and what is required of the cybersecurity workforce.
Additionally, DHS’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) serves as a national resource for cybersecurity awareness, education, training, and career opportunities. NICCS makes research and training information available through a robust, searchable catalog which allows users to find cyber training programs based on location, preferred delivery method, specialty area, or proficiency level. NICCS supports DHS’s objective to grow the cyber workforce by providing information about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and cyber-related degree programs, internship and scholarship opportunities, and cyber competitions and events.