NCSA signs MOU with Department of Education and NIST

Nov 21, 2011 2:39pm

By Michael Kaiser, NCSA Executive Director

Last month, we ended National Cyber Security Awareness Month with a landmark event. We signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to formally institute and promote cyber security education programs in K-12 schools, higher education, and career and technical education environments nationwide.

NCSA will collaborate with government, industry, nonprofit, academia and other educational organizations to make cyber education recommendations and guidelines.

The agreement couldn’t come at a better time. 

A recent study by (ISC)2 and Frost and Sullivan reveals a need of more than 700,000 new information security professionals in the Americas in the next four years.

And the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be nearly 300,000 new IT jobs created between now and 2018 – many of which will require cyber security expertise.

We hope that a more formal cyber security education plan will encourage students to pursue majors in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math –  and cyber security when they reach college.

It’s no secret the United States is lagging behind other countries when it comes to STEM careers. According to a recent New York Times article, roughly 40 percent of students planning engineering and science majors end up switching to other subjects or failing to get any degree.

As part of the MOU, we’ll collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders and identify the cyber education needs of all young people and the foundational knowledge, skills and competencies needed by government and industry to build a workforce that can protect America's vital digital assets.

As NCSA did when we worked with the APWG  to develop STOP. THINK. CONNECT., we hope to build a consensus between all the parties on a path forward.

Our digital future offers much promise. It can be an engine of our economy, facilitate public discourse and be a great equalizer of access to information. However, that promise will not be realized if we don’t educate a generation of young people to be the stewards and protectors of our shared digital assets.