WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, announced that she and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) have led a group of seven of their Senate colleagues in a bipartisan letter to Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-MS), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Homeland Security, respectively, requesting $10,000,000 – a $5.7 million increase from the year prior – to fund the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Cybersecurity Education and Training Assistance Program (CETAP), a program authorized last year by Rosen and Cassidy’s bipartisan PROTECT Act.

“Recent, unprecedented cyberattacks like the SolarWinds and Colonial Pipeline breaches demonstrate the urgency of solving the national cybersecurity workforce shortage. To address this gap, the Department of Homeland Security launched CETAP in 2012 with the goal of providing cybersecurity education to every K-12 student in the United States. CETAP is a competitively awarded grant that supports cybersecurity curriculum development, ‘train-the trainer’ resources for elementary and secondary school teachers, and cybersecurity career opportunity awareness,” wrote the Senators. “The program currently provides cybersecurity workforce development assistance to all 50 states – impacting over 3,000,000 students and training over 19,000 K-12 teachers across the country. Today, data shows that high schools teaching curricula developed through CETAP are sending four times more students into a cyber-based college or university degree program than those who are not using CETAP curricula.”

BACKGROUND: Last month, Senators Rosen and Cassidy introduced a bipartisan resolution – which passed the U.S. Senate – designating the week of June 21 through June 25 as National Cybersecurity Education Week.

Last year, Senator Rosen and Senator Cassidy introduced the bipartisan PROTECT (Providing Resources for Ongoing Training and Education in Cyber Technologies) Act, legislation to formally authorize and provide stability to CETAP. The  PROTECT Act was signed into law as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.

Rosen is a member of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus.

The full text of the Senators’ letter can be found here and below.

Dear Chairman Murphy and Ranking Member Capito:

As you begin drafting the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, we respectfully request that you provide $10,000,000 for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Cybersecurity Education and Training Assistance Program (CETAP) to continue building and strengthening a national cybersecurity workforce pipeline capacity through supporting elementary and secondary cybersecurity education.

Recent, unprecedented cyberattacks like the SolarWinds and Colonial Pipeline breaches demonstrate the urgency of solving the national cybersecurity workforce shortage. To address this gap, the Department of Homeland Security launched CETAP in 2012 with the goal of providing cybersecurity education to every K-12 student in the United States. CETAP is a competitively awarded grant that supports cybersecurity curriculum development, “train-the trainer” resources for elementary and secondary school teachers, and cybersecurity career opportunity awareness. The program currently provides cybersecurity workforce development assistance to all 50 states – impacting over 3,000,000 students and training over 19,000 K-12 teachers across the country. Today, data shows that high schools teaching curricula developed through CETAP are sending four times more students into a cyber-based college or university degree program than those who are not using CETAP curricula. CETAP also embraces a focus on underserved schools in low socioeconomic regions, as approximately 51 percent of all new teachers are from low-income schools and CETAP’s teacher professional development saw 71% percent of attendees come from low-income, Title 1 schools.

Additional resources in FY22 would expand the reach of the program in classrooms across the country by enabling:

  • Increased access to curricula for educators;
  • Development of pathways for immediate job entry, more direct connection of high
  • schools to post-secondary workforce pathways, and engagements with more HBCU
  • institutions;
  • Expansion of recruiting and retaining students from military families for future cyber
  • employment;
  • Development of virtual curricula, resources that can be used by schools for student
  • asynchronous learning. Ideal for rural and underserved communities; and
  • Launching a virtual cyber laboratory specifically used for K-12 educators, providing an
  • application-based learning environment for real-world cybersecurity lessons.

The FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) formally authorized CETAP and codified the program’s mission as a leader in the dissemination of cybersecurity-focused K-12 education resources and training. The provision was modeled after a recommendation from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. In Fiscal Year 2021, Congress funded CETAP at $4,300,000, enabling the launch of three K-12 initiatives focusing on Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) feeder high schools, military children, and students with disabilities.

As the Cyberspace Solarium Commission notes, CETAP has “significant room to grow.” In FY22, we ask that you build on this important investment and fund CETAP at no less than $10,000,000, an increase of $5,700,000 above the FY21 enacted level, to allow CETAP to reach its full potential. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

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