White House’s National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy Features Carolina Cyber Network

By C3 Staff
Aug 10, 2023

The Carolina Cyber Network (CCN), cofounded by the Carolina Cyber Center of Montreat College, is honored to have supported the drafting of the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy and been highlighted in the report as a national leader in active workforce ecosystems. The Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) within the White House released the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy (NCWES) on July 31, 2023. The document provides guidance for framing workforce strategies to address the nationwide shortage of cybersecurity professionals.

There are currently over 21,000 open cybersecurity jobs in North Carolina alone, a number that broadens to 663,434 jobs nationally.[i] Beyond the individual impact of lost career opportunities, the economic impact of under-protected communities can be catastrophic. One of the solutions proposed by the NCWES to address the skills gap is to provide opportunities for more Americans to pursue careers in cybersecurity by promoting accessible pathways through certificates, community college and four-year degrees available across the country. A guiding imperative of the NCWES is leveraging best-in-class cyber education and workforce ecosystems like CCN to build a comprehensive system designed to train students through a high-quality pipeline for career opportunities in cybersecurity.

The Carolina Cyber Network (CCN) has taken a national leadership role in developing a high-functioning workforce ecosystem.  Through working with the White House, the Office of the National Cyber Director and the National Security Council, as well as North Carolina’s congressional delegation, State Legislature and Governor’s office, the CCN has brought diverse stakeholders and multi-sector partners together to help provide experiential learning and exposure to career opportunities for nascent cyber professionals. “An ecosystem helps create the foundation required for a wider-reaching and more sustainable solution to address the cyber skills gap. We are pleased to be identified as an active ecosystem that is comprehensive in nature and holds promise in meeting the workforce needs in cybersecurity,” says Dr. Mark Sorrells, president of Fayetteville Technical Community College, a founding member and co-director of the CCN.

Beyond educational ecosystems, the NCWES aims to equip each citizen with foundational cybersecurity skills, provide cybersecurity education in every grade level, and strengthen the civilian and federal cybersecurity workforce. “With the release of ONCD’s strategy, we are excited to continue working within their framework, connecting our upcoming professionals to public and private employers and casting a vision for how quality cybersecurity professionals can create a more secure future for our nation,” says Executive Director of the Carolina Cyber Center and co-director of CCN, Larry Young.

David Thompson, President of RBX Solutions and a co-director of the CCN, stated “There have been many efforts made throughout the country to create a holistic talent pipeline in cybersecurity. Although partnership efforts have occurred across a broad swath of colleges and universities, unfortunately they have not taken off for various reasons.  The ONCD’s focus on bringing together a cohesive strategy and roadmap for cyber talent development has been sorely needed, and we are honored to have been asked to impart what we have learned through CCN’s successes to help make this important document a reality.”

The Carolina Cyber Network (CCN) represents a collaborative effort among 18 colleges across North Carolina focused on closing the cybersecurity workforce gap and bolstering the state’s security infrastructure. It stands as a pioneering public-private partnership, which fosters cooperation between industry, academia, and government in pursuit of a shared goal.

Member institutions of CCN currently include:  Blue Ridge Community College, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Catawba Valley Community College, Cleveland Community College, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville Technical Community College, Forsyth Technical Community College, Gaston College, Isothermal Community College, Johnston Community College, Montreat College, North Carolina A&T State University, Piedmont Community College, Richmond Community College, Stanly Community College, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wake Technical Community College and Wayne Community College.

For more information about CCN, please visit www.carolinacybernetwork.net.

[i] https://www.cyberseek.org/heatmap.html

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