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“Education and the workforce is a big


deal,” Jackson says. “When it comes to feed- ing the workforce pipeline, cybersecurity firms by and large are based on talent, and they are pretty much as good as the talent they are able to find. And so the states that have the best people and have the most tal- ented workers are going to be the ones that garner the most amount of [cybersecurity] companies over the long term.” The state government’s efforts aren’t


purely selfless — it needs cybersecurity pro- fessionals, too. “We have 300,000 attacks on our network every day,” Jackson says. The attacks range from email phishing to more serious hacking attempts. The state government can’t compete


with private industry on salaries and perks, Jackson says, so Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration has established a $1 mil- lion scholarships-for-service program to augment its workforce. The program offers up to two years of paid college tuition for students pursuing cyber-related degrees in exchange for working in cybersecurity for the state government for the same number of years after graduation. Virginia Tech has a similar program


offering scholarships for three years of federal government service in cybersecurity. The federal government is launching its own initiative to hire 3,500 more cyberse- curity professionals by 2017. In September, President Obama named retired Air Force Brigadier Gen. Gregory Touhill the nation’s first cybersecurity chief. But there also are plenty of efforts to


help private cybersecurity companies ensure they have a workforce they need. In June McAuliffe announced that the


state government was establishing a regis- tered cybersecurity apprenticeship program to help students in community colleges and technical centers get on-the-job experience while earning degrees and certificates in cybersecurity fields. McAuliffe has made cybersecurity the central focus of his tenure as chair of the National Governors Associa- tion, encouraging states to share informa- tion and strengthen the nation’s collective cybersecurity profile. In August, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner


and Tim Kaine announced Virginia Tech would receive a $19.4 million National Sci- ence Foundation grant that largely will be used for cyber workforce development. Virginia has been particularly focused


Photo by Mark Rhodes www.VirginiaBusiness.com VIRGINIA BUSINESS 27


on “middle-skills” workers — those who need more education than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree to enter the workforce. The state’s New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Program funds two-thirds of the cost of workforce credentials programs for students who successfully complete vocational certification programs and earn industry-recognized credentials and certifications in high-demand professions, including information technology and cybersecurity. Margaret Leary, cybersecurity


program head for Northern Virginia Community College and director of cur- riculum for the National CyberWatch Center, is a self-described “huge sup- porter” of the workforce credentials initia- tive. “The problem is the workforce needs people who can hit the ground running. They don’t want to spend 18 months to train someone on the hard skills needed to defend a network.” However, in Northern Virginia, she


says, the majority of the cybersecurity employers tend to be federal contractors, and federal government contracts require most cybersecurity contractors’ employees to hold bachelor’s degrees. To this end, Northern Virginia Community College is working with schools such as George Washington University to help students


get four-year cyber-related degrees. They also have a pathway program to help military personnel receive earned credits for their previous military experience in cyber fields.


Attracting millennials One key problem is persuading


younger professionals to enter the field. At her community college, Leary


says, most students pursuing cybersecurity degrees tend to be between ages 30 and 60 and are entering the field as a second career. Millennials, she says, aren’t really aware of cybersecurity career options. “A lot of these students, if you ask


them what might a cybersecurity special- ist do, they don’t know,” she says. “There needs to be more career prep done at the high school level, even at the middle school level, so that people understand the range of opportunities within cybersecurity … Millennials are very attracted by worth- while causes. If it could be represented as a worthwhile cause to them — protecting assets, protecting national security — then there would be more interest.” William Eggers, managing director


of Deloitte Services, agrees that there’s a problem in getting more teens and twen- tysomethings interested in cybersecurity careers. Millennials are expected to save the day when it comes to the cybersecurity


Margaret Leary, head of Northern Virginia Community College’s cybersecurity program, says the industry has diffi culty attracting millenials.


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