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States launch cybersecurity efforts focused on building 21st century workforce, NIST releases cybersecurity framework

August 17, 2017

Cybersecurity efforts have been increasing across the country. In July, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who also serves as chair of the National Governors Association (NGA), announced that 38 governors signed A Compact to Improve State Cybersecurity – a multi-state, coordinated cybersecurity effort focused in three areas that will

  • Enhance state cybersecurity governance;
  • Prepare and defend their states from cybersecurity events; and,
  • Grow the nation’s cybersecurity workforce.

The compact was the culmination of McAuliffe’s Meet the Threat: States Confront the Cyber Challenge. In addition to the compact, new cybersecurity-focused economic development efforts have been launched in several states including Delaware, Kentucky, and Wyoming. Meanwhile, NIST has released a cybersecurity workforce framework intended for use by all sectors in the states.


Delaware officials announced a two-pronged approach to support the growth of the state’s cybersecurity workforce. The $650,000 effort will provide training and scholarships to both high school and college students. Through the CyberStart platform, the state will provide cybersecurity education to residents 16 years or older. Students also can compete for scholarships through the CyberStart platform. In total, $500,000 will be allocated for cybersecurity education at the college level and $150,000 for other types of cybersecurity education.

The CyberStart platform is provided through a partnership between the state and SANS Institute – a national research and education organization. The SANS Institute also launched similar partnerships with other states including Virginia, Michigan, Rhode Island, Iowa, Nevada and Hawaii.


In Kentucky, the state announced the Kentucky Cloud Career Pathways effort to provide K-12 and college students with blended learning experiences comprised of online learning, internships, apprenticeships, jobs and other opportunities in the cloud computing field. Led by the Kentucky Department of Education, the public-private partnership will include several other state agencies, Amazon Web Services, and Project Lead the Way (PLTW) – a nonprofit education organization. Utilizing PLTW’s STEM curricula, students across Kentucky’s K–12 public schools and Kentucky Community Technical College System (KCTCS) will be equipped with 21st century skillsets like computer science, cybersecurity and cloud computing.


Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead announced that the state will commit $2.5 million to diversify the state’s economy with a specific emphasis on supporting the growth of the state’s cybersecurity workforce. Several of the efforts that he proposes include:

  • Expanding the computer science department at the University of Wyoming to help develop experts in cybersecurity;
  • Providing funding to Laramie County Community College to support new cybersecurity-focused faculty positions;
  • Developing a statewide marketing effort to attract students to careers in cybersecurity; and,
  • Implementing coding programs in Wyoming’s K-12 public schools.


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently released National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework – a 144-page reference source to define or provide guidance on different aspects of cybersecurity workforce development, planning, training, and education. Part of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), this new framework also serves as a reference point for guidance and guidelines on career paths, education, training, and credentialing programs. The authors contend that the framework can be applied to different organizations, as well as across sectors.


Delaware, Kentucky, Wyomingcybersecurit, workforce