The Biden-Harris Administration has today unveiled the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy (NCWES), aimed at addressing both immediate and long-term cyber workforce needs.
Filling the hundreds of thousands of cyber job vacancies across the U.S. is a national security imperative and the Administration is making generational investments to prepare the country to lead in the digital economy. The NCWES underscores the critical need to fill a vast number of vacant cyber jobs.
The approaches outlined in the NCWES will supplement the Administration’s ongoing efforts to grow and strengthen middle class working families, including through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. With the release of the NCWES, the Biden-Harris Administration is working to fill good paying, middle class jobs.
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. 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.
The NCWES follows the release of the President’s National Cybersecurity Strategy, which established a vision for the development of a digital environment that is values-aligned and well resourced to address today’s complex threat environment. The NCWES envisions a skills-based digital future where workers have access to good-paying, middle-class cyber jobs within their communities. In addition, educators are enabled to continuously upskill the public, and employers can expand and diversify their workforce. The NCWES was developed in consultation with non-governmental stakeholder groups, including private industry, academia, non-profits, government partners, and more.
The NCWES emphasizes that no one actor can alone affect the needed change at scale. This means all stakeholders – including educators, industry, government, and more – must all execute on the objectives set forth in this Strategy.
With its partners the Biden-Harris Administration will:
- Leverage adaptable ecosystems to effect change at scale: The NCWES represents a whole-of-nation effort to spark, support, and scale local ecosystems for cyber education and workforce development.
- Enable the lifelong development of cyber skills: All Americans should be equipped with foundational cyber skills that are needed to navigate daily life. Those in every sector of the workforce should be prepared with industry-specific or occupation-specific cyber skills. Further, people who are in the cyber workforce should be equipped with specialized cyber skills that will change over the course of their careers.
- Grow and enhance the cyber workforce through improving its diversity and inclusion: A diverse workforce is a key strategic advantage. It increases the pool of eligible workers and provides novel ways to solve problems and develop innovative solutions to our most complex challenges.
The NCWES seeks to build and enhance collaboration around four pillars:
- Equip Every American with Foundational Cyber Skills – enable everyone to enjoy the full benefits of an interconnected society:
- Make foundational cyber skill learning opportunities available to all;
- Promote the pursuit of foundational cyber skills and cyber careers; and,
- Foster global progress in foundational cyber skills.
- Transform Cyber Education – address the immediate demand for a skilled cyber workforce while also preparing learners to meet the future needs of a dynamic technological environment:
- Build and leverage ecosystems to improve cyber education, from K-12 education, to higher education, community colleges, and technical schools;
- Expand competency-based cyber education;
- Invest in educators and improving cyber education systems; and,
- Make cyber education and training more affordable and accessible.
- Expand and Enhance the National Cyber Workforce – collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders, adopt a skills-based approach to recruitment and development, and increase access to cyber jobs for all Americans, including underserved and underrepresented groups:
- Grow the cyber workforce by proliferating and strengthening ecosystems;
- Promote skills-based hiring and workforce development;
- Leverage the diversity of America to strengthen the cyber workforce; and,
- Enhance international engagements.
- 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:
- Drive sustained progress through greater federal collaboration;
- Attract and hire a qualified and diverse federal cyber workforce;
- Improve career pathways in the federal cyber workforce; and,
- Invest in human resources capabilities and personnel.
The announcement follows the release of a Government Accountability Office report into strengthening the cybersecurity workforce.