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 RosenThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mnuchin sees 'strong likelihood' of another relief package; Warner says some businesses 'may not come back' at The Hill's Advancing America's Economy summit The Hill's Coronavirus Report: CDC Director Redfield responds to Navarro criticism; Mnuchin and Powell brief Senate panel Hillicon Valley: Experts raise security concerns about online voting | Musk finds supporter in Trump | Officials warn that Chinese hackers targeting COVID-19 research groups 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 MoultonEx-CBO director calls for more than trillion in coronavirus stimulus spending Overnight Defense: Trump's move to use military in US sparks backlash | Defense officials take heat | Air Force head calls Floyd's death 'a national tragedy' Democrats blast Trump's use of military against protests MORE (D-Mass.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikBipartisan House bill seeks to improve pandemic preparedness The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga says supporting small business single most important thing we should do now; Teva's Brendan O'Grady says U.S. should stockpile strategic reserve in drugs like Strategic Oil Reserve House GOP to launch China probes beyond COVID-19 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 HurdScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach The Hill's Morning Report - Protesters' defiance met with calls to listen GOP Rep. Will Hurd marches with protesters in Houston MORE (R-Texas) has sought to create a “cyber national guard” to help recruit qualified workers.