Rosen Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Cyber Ready Workforce Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, alongside Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), introduced the Cyber Ready Workforce Act (S. 1466), legislation that would direct the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to award grants to workforce intermediaries to support the creation, implementation, and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity. Companion legislation (H.R. 2721) is being introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Susie Lee (D-NV) and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and co-sponsored by Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Congressman Denver Riggleman (R-VA).

“We must take action to address the shortage in our cybersecurity workforce in order to fill the gaps in our cyber-defense and meet the demands of a growing industry that creates good-paying jobs in Nevada,” said Senator Rosen (D-NV). “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.”

“Cyber attacks are an emerging threat to our nation, and we need a well-trained workforce able to combat them,” said Senator Cramer (R-ND). “This bipartisan bill authorizes the Department of Labor to incentivize the creation and expansion of cybersecurity apprenticeship programs which provide students an alternative to a traditional four year degree in the cybersecurity field, reduce the need for burdensome student loan debt, and help ensure the next generation has the skills they need to protect our country.”

“Our ability to compete in the world economy depends on producing an educated cyber-ready workforce,” said Congresswoman Lee (D-NV). “The demand for a cyber-ready workforce is outpacing our ability to produce those workers.  As a result, we continue to fall behind our global competitors. We must invest more in our students and workforce so they can thrive in a diverse 21st Century economy and that’s exactly what the Cyber Ready Workforce Act will do. This bill gives local businesses, higher education institutions, and nonprofits the tools to give students and workers key skills they will need to compete in the cyber industry. It’s past time we prepare our workforce to take on the world’s modern cyber challenges, which is why I’m proud to work across the aisle and get it done. ”

“As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities, I have made strengthening our nation’s cybersecurity a top priority in Congress,” said Congresswoman Stefanik (R-NY). “This bipartisan legislation will equip our workforce with the tools needed to improve cybersecurity capabilities in businesses and organizations across the country. This bill is critical for not only our workforce and economy, but for our national security as well.”

“In Virginia and across the country, the cybersecurity field is growing at a rapid rate—and this unprecedented level of innovation provides exciting opportunities for high-skill, high-wage jobs. To make sure the next generation of technicians, programmers, and analysts can become global leaders in these fields, we need to build new pathways to apprenticeships,” said Congresswoman Spanberger (D-VA). “I’m 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. Going forward, I’ll keep building support for our bill as we look to create, promote, and implement new cybersecurity training programs.”

“As a former Department of Defense contractor and data security professional, I know the threats our country will face if we don’t adequately prepare our workforce for cybersecurity threats,” said Congressman Riggleman (R-VA). “I am proud to cosponsor the bipartisan Cyber Ready Workforce Act, which supports the creation of cybersecurity apprenticeship programs and prepares our workforce for the jobs of tomorrow. This bill will help prepare the future leaders and entrepreneurs of America with critical training and experiences demanded by an increasingly cyber world.”

The legislation also received an endorsement in-state from Linda Montgomery, President of the Learning Center, Las Vegas, which provides training, certification, and team skills development in all areas of the IT and cybersecurity. 

“Each day we are reminded how critical information security is to our economy and our national security,” said Linda Montgomery, President of the Learning Center, Las Vegas. “We applaud Senator Rosen and believe this bipartisan, bicameral legislation will help us better prepare for the realities of a 21st century economy by helping strengthen our workforce, and training individuals with the skills they need in cybersecurity.”

BACKGROUND: The bipartisan Cyber Ready Workforce Act would establish a grant program within the Department of Labor whereby the Secretary of Labor shall award grants, on a competitive basis, to workforce intermediaries – such as colleges, non-profit organizations, workforce development boards, and businesses – to support the creation, implementation, and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity. In addition to developing the curriculum and technical instruction, grant funding could be used to provide support services to apprentices including career counseling, mentorship, and assistance with transportation, housing, and childcare costs.

The Cyber Ready Workforce Act has received national endorsements from the ISACA and CompTIA.