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White House launches an education initiative to diversify the cyber industry

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The Biden-Harris administration has created a new strategic initiative to address the demand for cyber workers while also diversifying the field.

The National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy (NCWES) is designed to prepare the country for immediate and long-term cyber workforce needs. There is a well-documented shortage of tech workers in the United States. Despite recent layoffs from high-profile companies, most tech industry leaders still report difficulty filling the IT positions they have. Recent job reports indicate that the number of tech jobs in the market far outpaces the amount of trained talent available.

The Biden Administration considers the gap between the tech need and talent a national security concern but also a prime opportunity for a diversity effort.

“Many communities currently underrepresented in the cyber workforce do not envision themselves in cyber jobs or are not aware of the tremendous opportunity to join this important and growing workforce,” said the White House in a press release. “The NCWES focuses on empowering Americans to pursue these career paths in cyber. Many of these jobs are attainable with a certificate or community college degree and are available now in your local community and across the country.”

One of the often-cited obstacles to diversifying the tech workforce is the digital divide – the unequal distribution and access to technology among different demographics. Federal and state governments attempted to address it during the COVID-19 pandemic to aid with E-Learning, but under the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy, additional investments would be made at the K-12 level for cyber education.

Recruiting and attracting workers to the profession is also a goal of the program. The White House is pledging to diversify its own cyber workforce via outreach efforts. Additionally, there are plans to reach out and collaborate with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The National Cybersecurity Alliance already has a cybersecurity program based out of HBCUs called “See Yourself in Cyber,” which acts as an exposure event to the tech field.

The National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy also partners with big tech companies like Google and Microsoft.

Local organizations like InnoPower and TechPoint have Indiana based initiatives to tackle the same problem.

Contact Indy Kids Winning Reporter Andrew Pillow at andrewp@indyrecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewPillow.

Andrew’s work is supported through a partnership between Indy Kids Winning and the Indianapolis Recorder. Visit indykidswinning.com to learn more.

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