US Govt. Launches $3.6 Million Initiative to Fill Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Penka Hristovska
Penka Hristovska Senior Editor
Published on: April 6, 2024
Penka Hristovska Penka Hristovska
Published on: April 6, 2024 Senior Editor

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is launching a grant initiative of nearly $3.6 million to address the shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals in the US.

This funding will support 18 educational and community organizations across 15 states in their efforts to enhance cybersecurity skills training. The grant program, which is giving around $200,000 to each organization, will be managed by NICE, a subdivision of NIST dedicated to fostering cybersecurity education and workforce development.

“Our economic and national security depend on a highly skilled workforce capable of defending against ever-increasing cyber threats. By investing in our cybersecurity workforce, we are not just filling a critical gap. We are creating a future where Americans have access to the training they need to secure high-quality, good-paying jobs,” NIST Director Laurie Locascio said in a press release.

The organizations selected for the grants will create networks of collaboration through Regional Alliances and Multistakeholder Partnerships (RAMPS).  NICE says these initiatives aim to bridge the gap between the specific needs of local businesses and nonprofits and the strategic ambitions outlined in the NICE Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity.

“The RAMPS program provides access to cybersecurity careers for individuals from diverse backgrounds, experiences and life circumstances. It shines a spotlight on local communities that are working together to create career pathways to good jobs for all Americans and contributes to local and regional economic development by addressing the workforce needs of local businesses,” NICE Director Rodney Petersen said in a statement.

According to data from CyberSeek, which compiles information on the cybersecurity job market, the US  had almost 450,000 open cybersecurity positions from January 2023 to January 2024. But for every 100 vacancies in cybersecurity, there were only 82 candidates with the required education, experience, and qualifications to meet the demand.

Another recent report by the Center for Internet Security confirms the same trend as organizations lacking established cybersecurity measures point to “limited access to cybersecurity professionals” as a key obstacle. The same report also indicates an increase in cyberattacks targeting state and local governments from 2022 to 2023.

About the Author
Penka Hristovska
Penka Hristovska
Senior Editor
Published on: April 6, 2024

About the Author

Penka Hristovska is an editor at SafetyDetectives. She was an editor at several review sites that covered all things technology — including VPNs and password managers — and had previously written on various topics, from online security and gaming to computer hardware. She’s highly interested in the latest developments in the cybersecurity space and enjoys learning about new trends in the tech sector. When she’s not in “research mode,” she’s probably re-watching Lord of The Rings or playing DOTA 2 with her friends.

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