Joint Subcommittee Highlights Need To Invest In Cybersecurity Workforce Development

WASHINGTON – TODAY, the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a joint hearing with the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection on the need to invest in the development of a strong and diverse talent pipeline for cybersecurity professionals in federal, state, and local governments, as well as the private sector to ensure America’s security in the 21st century.

“This an urgent problem that has serious ramifications for our national security,” said Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53), the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development. “Cybersecurity attacks are on the rise resulting in massive data breaches and the loss of critical private data. Recent breaches include Equifax, where 145 million U.S. consumers, and Yahoo where all 3 billion users’ data were compromised. In the public sector, nearly 25 million individuals had sensitive information compromised by OPM's systems. And we know that cybersecurity vulnerabilities extend to critical infrastructure and our elections. The need for a more secure cyberinfrastructure is only going to grow as technology continues to move into even more aspects of our daily lives. By tackling this problem we can secure critical information and create many more high-paying jobs.”

As our world grows more and more connected, we also need a multidisciplinary approach to cyber education – one that reaches professionals in fields like construction, nursing, and electrical engineering, said Congressman Cedric Richmond (LA-02), the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection. “With the right access and support, these candidates can easily learn the technical skills through on-the-job training, industry certifications, community college courses, and modern vocational programs.

Scott Ralls, the President of Northern Virginia Community College, served as the Democratic witness. Northern Virginia has the highest concentration of cybersecurity jobs in the nation. In response to burgeoning demand, the Northern Virginia Community College has grown from 50 to 1,500 students in one of its cybersecurity associates programs in just four years.

“We are taking a multi-faceted strategy to address the cybersecurity workforce challenge in our region,” said President Ralls. “We do so not only because it meets employer needs, but most importantly, it helps our students understand the needs of Northern Virginia employers...But to solve this problem requires an even deeper engagement between industry, education and state and federal partners all working toward a common goal of increasing awareness, making cyber pathways clear and easy to navigate and providing work-learn opportunities in greater numbers.”

Amidst bipartisan agreement to invest in developing a federal cybersecurity workforce, President Trump’s FY18 budget request proposed cutting funding for the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program by 27 percent from its FY17 levels. Democrats are committed to expanding, not contracting, our efforts to fill cybersecurity workforce shortages. 

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