The National Science Foundation has awarded New York’s Pace University a $2.5 million grant to train young cybersecurity professionals.
The five-year grant will directly support three to four students per year, as well as contribute to outreach programs and student research.
The move is part of a growing push to address the dearth of qualified cybersecurity professionals across both the private and the public sectors.
In 2014, government and private sector employers reported that less than 25 percent of applicants for cybersecurity positions were qualified, according to a survey by the IT governance trade group ISACA.
Funding for cybersecurity training has enjoyed strong congressional support, especially in the wake of high-profile hacks on the Office of Personnel Management, the IRS and companies such as Anthem and Target.
“Cybersecurity has become an issue which affects millions of Americans as well as our critical infrastructure and national security,” said Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerHoward Dean: Schumer's endorsement 'kiss of death' for Ellison How the candidates for DNC chair stack up ahead of Saturday's vote DNC candidate Harrison drops out, backs Perez for chairman MORE (D-N.Y.), who announced the grant. “It is paramount that we have the training and emerging workers to address and enter this field.”
“Safeguarding sensitive personal and corporate information must receive outsized attention in our 21st Century economy,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee. “I’m pleased these federal investments will help enhance cybersecurity education at Pace University so we can develop the professionals necessary to combat the increasing threat of hackers and cybercriminals worldwide.”
Lowey vowed to continue “fighting for investments that address pressing national security needs.”
The private sector is also working to mitigate the skills gap.
The free online cybersecurity course provider Cybrary received $400,000 in seed money this week to expand its offerings.
“We wanted to put free cybersecurity learning into the hands of the people who are affected by it every day,” founder Ryan Corey told Upstart.
Cybrary has acquired 175,000 registered users since its January launch, with 84,000 participating in free courses in July, the company says.