cyber security

Bill Proposes Millions for Cyber Workforce Outreach to Underserved Communities

picture of house representative at podium

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) could receive up to $20 million annually to grow its cybersecurity workforce by targeting underserved communities, according to a new bill introduced in Congress and first reported on by Cyberscoop. The bill would provide CISA with millions in funding for outreach, training, and scholarships to attract more women and minorities to careers in cybersecurity.

“As a minority female business owner providing cybersecurity services, I strongly support this initiative,” says Acuity Total Solutions president Maria Chamberlain. “Increasing diversity in the cybersecurity field means supporting innovation by welcoming new perspectives and ideas. By investing in outreach and training for underrepresented groups, CISA can build a stronger workforce that extends opportunities and widens our perspective.”

Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

The cybersecurity industry faces a significant skills gap, with hundreds of thousands of unfilled positions. Women and minorities are underrepresented in the field, making up only 25% and 9% of the cybersecurity workforce respectively.

The CISA bill aims to address this gap by:

  • Providing $20 million per year for CISA to partner with minority-serving institutions and community colleges on cybersecurity training and apprenticeship programs
  • Offering scholarships and grants to students from underserved communities pursuing cybersecurity degrees
  • Launching public awareness campaigns to promote cybersecurity careers among women and minorities

Building a More Diverse Cybersecurity Workforce

Diversifying the cybersecurity workforce is not only important for filling open positions, but also for bringing new perspectives and ideas to the field.

“Diverse teams are more innovative and better equipped to solve complex problems,” said Chamberlain. “This program can help CISA build a cybersecurity workforce that is not only larger, but also more creative and effective at protecting our critical infrastructure.”

The CISA bill is currently making its way through Congress. If passed, it could provide a significant boost to diversity and inclusion efforts in the cybersecurity industry. The bill could also help shore up significant shortages in cybersecurity staffing.