Cyber bill to fund minority, community college programs
Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas) introduced a bill on Tuesday that would invest in cybersecurity curriculums in predominantly minority schools and community colleges.
The Cybersecurity Clinics Grant Program Act would establish a grant program based at the Department of Homeland Security that would fund cybersecurity education programs at community colleges and minority-serving institutions.
“Building the next generation of young Americans in the cyber workforce requires strategic investments in opportunities that offer a high-potential path to help increase the number of experienced cybersecurity professionals,” Veasey said in a statement.
The bill would also require the DHS to develop an experiential cybersecurity curriculum for the grant recipients.
The cybersecurity clinics are intended to be interactive and personalized workshops that will help students understand the importance of protecting devices and data from physical and digital threats.
Veasey also said that the program will help increase underrepresented groups in the cyber workforce.
The cybersecurity industry has been facing a labor shortage across all sectors. DHS officials have said the shortage is a top priority for the agency, which conducted a 60-day hiring sprint last summer to hire more cybersecurity professionals.
With an already scarce cyber workforce, women and minorities only make up a small percentage of cybersecurity professionals.
According to a report published last year by the Aspen Tech Policy Hub, only 4 percent of cybersecurity workers self-identified as Hispanic, and 9 percent self-identified as Black.
Meanwhile, women make up just 24 percent of the cybersecurity workforce.
“These clinics will provide students with a pathway to enter the cyber workforce with practical experience, which will only benefit our country’s national security in the long run,” Veasey added.