Rosen, Blackburn, Lee, Fitzpatrick Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Support & Expand Cybersecurity Apprenticeships

Cyber Ready Workforce Act Would Direct the U.S. Department of Labor to Award Grants to Help Create, Implement, and Expand Registered Apprenticeship Programs in Cybersecurity

This Follows Senate Committee Advancing Rosen’s Improving Cybersecurity of Small Organizations Act Yesterday

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Cyber Ready Workforce Act, bipartisan legislation that would direct the U.S. Department of Labor to award grants to increase access to registered apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity. Bipartisan companion legislation is being introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Susie Lee (D-NV) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).

“The serious shortage of U.S. cybersecurity workers leaves our nation vulnerable to the increasing threat of cyberattacks,” said Senator Rosen. “As a former computer programmer, I’m reintroducing this bipartisan legislation to help fill our cyber workforce gaps through a new grant program that will support registered apprenticeships and skills training in this critical field. Our bill would open the door to more good-paying, cutting-edge jobs in Nevada and nationwide, and help protect America’s critical infrastructure and data systems.”

“The United States must be the leader in cybersecurity,” said Senator Blackburn. “The bipartisan Cyber Ready Workforce Act achieves this goal by expanding registered apprenticeship programs and providing workers the skills needed to succeed in the cybersecurity field. Strengthening our cyber workforce will bolster our ability to safeguard American interests at home and abroad.”  

“The workforce of the future will be cyber-based, and we must invest in creating a workforce that can compete globally – now,” said Rep. Susie Lee. “Cybersecurity is one of our most significant national security challenges and this bipartisan bill will help us create a workforce that is capable of combating cybersecurity threats. This legislation will give local businesses, higher education institutions, and nonprofits the resources they need to create apprenticeship programs so that American workers can develop the necessary skills to compete in the cyber industry. We can’t afford to fall behind when it comes to cybersecurity. That’s why I’m proud to introduce this common-sense legislation with my colleagues from both parties.”

“The growing cybersecurity workforce shortage has left our nation’s cyberinfrastructure vulnerable to cyber-attacks, posing a direct threat to our economy and national security,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “Our bipartisan legislation will help close the cybersecurity workforce gap by offering the next generation of cybersecurity professionals an opportunity to gain technical, in-demand skills for high paying jobs, without taking on burdensome student loan debt. We must ensure that both public and private sectors are supplied with the skilled workforce they need to address modern cybersecurity challenges.”

“Apprenticeships have a proven record of creating pipelines of highly-skilled workers for in-demand industries,” said Jaime Cruz, Executive Director, Nevada Workforce Connections. “We fully support Senator Rosen, U.S. Representative Lee, and their colleagues’ efforts through this bipartisan, bicameral Cyber Ready Workforce Act to train and grow talent in Nevada and beyond, to meet our country’s growing cybersecurity needs.”

“Each day we are reminded how critical information security is to our economy and our national security,” said Garvin Bushell, President of The Learning Center, Las Vegas. “We applaud Representatives Lee and Fitzpatrick and Senators Rosen and Blackburn for introducing the Cyber Ready Workforce Act. We 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.”

“This legislation is an important step forward in promoting the advancement of the cybersecurity workforce of the United States,” said Julia Kanouse, Chief Membership Officer at ISACA. “ISACA has also worked to advocate for job-ready professionals with the skills to execute initiatives in the marketplace. Supporting the creation, implementation, and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity is an excellent way to do that. The challenge for cybersecurity professionals is that their skillsets need continuous improvement to keep pace with the threat environment and massive investments from adversaries. The U.S. government expanding apprenticeship opportunities for new and current cyber professionals will help counter the investments from rivals and bad actors.”

“JFF supports the bipartisan Cyber Ready Workforce Act,” said Mary Clagett, Senior Director of Workforce Policy at Jobs for the Future. “This bill, which invests and supports the creation, implementation, and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in cyber security, comes at a critical time. Now more than ever we need high-quality skill development options that prepare individuals for in-demand employment, help employers solve regional skill shortages, and support communities as they economically recover. JFF endorses this bill and looks forward to Congress taking action.” 

The cybersecurity field has a severe shortage in talent, with nearly 600,000 job openings today in the U.S. and over 3,500 openings in Nevada alone, according to CyberSeek, an interactive cybersecurity jobs heat map funded by the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The bipartisan Cyber Ready Workforce Act would help address this problem by establishing a new program within the Department of Labor to award grants, on a competitive basis, to workforce intermediaries – such as businesses, community-based organizations, workforce development boards, education institutions, and nonprofits – to support the creation, implementation, and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity. 

The cybersecurity registered apprenticeship program would include industry-recognized certification in cybersecurity, encourage stackable and portable credentials, and lead to jobs 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.