New Legislation Aims to Bolster Cybersecurity Education Among Skilled Trades

Dec 4, 2018 Issues: Cybersecurity, Education

WASHINGTON On Monday, Congressmen Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, introduced the Cybersecurity Education Integration Act, legislation that provides resources to develop CTE programs of study that include cybersecurity fundamentals.

“Whether in our hospitals or our power grid, vital systems are increasingly being connected to the Internet,” said Congressman Langevin, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus and a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “These connections enable increased efficiency and better service, but they also provide pathways for cyber intruders to cause havoc. We need to offer better training for the workers who deal with these systems on a day-to-day basis, particularly in safety critical industries where lives can be put in jeopardy by malicious cyber actors. These operators have a strong culture of safety, and we need to make sure emerging cyber threats are included in that culture. They are the first line of defense, and our bill ensures they will have the skills they need to keep us safe.”

“Developing a 21st century workforce to meet the technical demands our country is facing now – and in the future – is paramount,” said Congressman Thompson, a senior Member on the House Education & the Workforce Committee. “We must ensure we’re protecting sensitive data and critical infrastructure from bad actors, and this bill is one step in the right direction. By enabling our next generation of learners to have the most sophisticated and comprehensive educational programs out there, we will  be better prepared to protect our most critical systems and assets. I encourage my colleagues to support this bill.”

The Cybersecurity Education Integration Act would establish a competitive grant program to add cybersecurity into new or existing CTE curricula. Many CTE programs already have strong program elements focused on safety; however, cybersecurity is rarely included as part of that training. To better include cybersecurity as a cultural touchstone within industry, training would have to be incorporated throughout the course of study rather than just as an additional class.

Eligible recipients would be partnerships between educational institutions, including community colleges, and local employers. In developing the grant program, the Secretary of Education would be required to consult with the Department of Homeland Security and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, both of which have key roles in protecting US critical infrastructure. The bill authorizes $10 million in funding for the program.

The full text of the legislation is available here.