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Dem introduces bill to create federal cybersecurity apprenticeship program

Dem introduces bill to create federal cybersecurity apprenticeship program
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Lawmakers introduce legislation to boost cybersecurity of local governments, small businesses MORE (D-Nev.) on Thursday unveiled legislation to create a Department of Labor grant program for apprenticeships in cybersecurity.

The bipartisan bill, known as the “Cyber Ready Workforce Act,” would establish grants to help create, implement and expand registered apprenticeship programs for cybersecurity.

Under the bill, the programs would be required to offer certain cybersecurity certifications and help connect participants with local businesses or other entities for apprenticeships in hopes to boost the number of qualified workers for federal cyber jobs.

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“The demand for talent in cybersecurity is sky-high, and we’re putting ourselves at risk if we don’t address this shortage in our workforce,” Rosen said in a statement Thursday. “I’m committed to ensuring that businesses and government have the skilled people and critical tools they need to enhance our nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure, help industry thrive, and strengthen our national security.”

Reps. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Overnight Defense: Trump fires Defense chief Mark Esper | Worries grow about rudderless post-election Pentagon | Esper firing hints at broader post-election shake-up | Pelosi says Esper firing shows Trump intent on sowing 'chaos' Democratic lawmakers lambast Trump over Esper firing as GOP remains mum MORE (D-Mass.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikCuomo reverses on in-person Thanksgiving plans with family Women of both parties must seize the momentum A louder voice for women everywhere MORE (R-N.Y.) and Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) have all signed on as cosponsors to the legislation.

Cyber officials and experts have pointed to lack of qualified workers as a major detriment for cybersecurity. The bill cites the federally funded jobs heat map CyberSeek, which found that there are currently more than 300,000 open jobs in the cybersecurity field.

The proposed grant program is based on Nevada’s own cybersecurity apprenticeship program, the first in the country, according to a release from Rosen’s office.

Other lawmakers have also backed efforts to address the talent gap in cybersecurity: Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHouse Hispanic Republicans welcome four new members Democrats lead in diversity in new Congress despite GOP gains Senate passes bill to secure internet-connected devices against cyber vulnerabilities MORE (R-Texas) has sought to create a “cyber national guard” to help recruit qualified workers.