Lawmakers introduce legislation to improve cyber workforce funding

THE HILL, MAGGIE MILLER

Lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced legislation on Wednesday to improve the cybersecurity workforce by directing the Department of Labor to award grants that help create and expand cyber apprenticeship programs.

The Cyber Ready Workforce Act has bipartisan support, with Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) introducing the bill in the Senate, and Reps. Susie Lee (D-Nev.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) sponsoring the legislation in the House.

The bill would establish a program within the Labor Department, allowing the Secretary of Labor to award financial grants to “workforce intermediaries” such as colleges and nonprofit organizations that support cyber apprenticeships.

This funding could also be used for child care, transportation costs and career counseling involved with participating in the apprenticeship programs.

Rosen’s office said that trade groups such as CompTIA and ISACA have already endorsed the legislation.

“We must take action to address the shortage in our cybersecurity workforce in order to fill the gaps in our cyber-defense,” Rosen said in a statement.

“I’m proud to help usher in the next generation of employees in the field of cybersecurity. I’ll continue to work on finding forward-thinking solutions that provide our businesses, communities, and government with the skilled workforce they need to strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure and protect Americans’ data from bad actors,” she added.

Cramer noted that “cyber attacks are an emerging threat to our nation, and we need a well-trained workforce able to combat them,” while Lee said that “our ability to compete in the world economy depends on producing an educated cyber-ready workforce.”

Meanwhile, Spanberger said she is “proud to help introduce this bipartisan legislation, because addressing our country’s workforce demands isn’t a partisan issue—it’s an issue of national security, economic strength, and long-term financial security for working families.”

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