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Senators introduce cybersecurity workforce expansion bill

Senators introduce cybersecurity workforce expansion bill

Four members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee from both sides of the aisle introduced a bill Tuesday to expand America's cybersecurity workforce.

The Harvesting American Cybersecurity Knowledge through Education Act would enhance existing science education and cybersecurity programs in the National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Department of Transportation.

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It would do so by incentivizing the recruitment of educators in the field, designing clear paths for professionals and increasing coordination between the agencies listed above.

“Cybersecurity risks are constant in the growing digital world. It is critical that the United States stay ahead of malicious cyber activity with a workforce that can safeguard our innovation, research, and work environments,” committee Chairman Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerPassage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March 11 GOP senators slam Biden pick for health secretary: 'No meaningful experience' MORE (R-Miss.) said in a statement.

“This legislation is an important first step to expand the cybersecurity workforce and provide tools to support necessary education and training,” he added.

“America is facing serious cyber threats every day in today’s increasingly connected world, yet there is a serious shortage of workers needed to confront this urgent challenge,” said Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellRegulators keep close eye on Facebook's deal with Australia Video stirs emotions on Trump trial's first day Airlines warn of new furloughs without more federal aid MORE (D-Wash.). "There are currently 300,000 vacancies in our cyber workforce nationwide."

Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThunePassage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Senate GOP campaign chief talks strategy with Trump Graham, Trump huddle to talk GOP's 2022 strategy MORE (R-S.D.) and Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenDemocratic senator demands Rand Paul wear a mask on Senate floor Overnight Defense: New START extended for five years | Austin orders 'stand down' to tackle extremism | Panel recommends Biden delay Afghanistan withdrawal Senate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee MORE (D-Nev.) also introduced the bill.

Similar legislation, the Cyber Ready Workforce Act, was introduced in both chambers earlier this year but remains in committees. That bill would direct the Department of Labor to award grants that help create and expand cyber apprenticeship programs.