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NIST Awards $3.6 Million for Community-Based Cybersecurity Workforce Development

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GAITHERSBURG, Md. — The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded cooperative agreements totaling nearly $3.6 million aimed at building the workforce needed to safeguard enterprises from cybersecurity risks. The grants of roughly $200,000 each will go to 18 education and community organizations in 15 states that are working to address the nation’s shortage of skilled cybersecurity employees.

The cooperative agreements will be overseen by NICE, a NIST-led partnership between government, academia and the private sector focused on cybersecurity education, training and workforce development.

“Our economic and national security depend on a highly skilled workforce capable of defending against ever-increasing cyber threats,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Laurie E. Locascio. “By investing in our cybersecurity workforce, we are not just filling a critical gap. We are creating a future where Americans have access to the training they need to secure high-quality, good-paying jobs.”

The NICE-funded CyberSeek tool, which analyzes data about the cybersecurity job market, found that there were nearly 450,000 cybersecurity job openings in the U.S. between January 2023 and January 2024. Only 82 workers were available to fill every 100 cybersecurity job openings in the U.S. during this time.

The organizations receiving the awards will build Regional Alliances and Multistakeholder Partnerships to Stimulate (RAMPS) cybersecurity education and workforce development. These RAMPS projects will align the workforce needs of local business and nonprofit organizations with the goals of the NICE Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity.

NIST is currently accepting applications for an additional 15 RAMPS awards of up to $200,000 each. The application deadline is Friday, May 24, 2024. More information is available on the NIST website.

“The RAMPS program provides access to cybersecurity careers for individuals from diverse backgrounds, experiences and life circumstances,” said NICE Director Rodney Petersen. “It shines a spotlight on local communities that are working together to create career pathways to good jobs for all Americans and contributes to local and regional economic development by addressing the workforce needs of local businesses.”

Many of the RAMPS projects promote curriculum development or education and training at the high school, collegiate or professional levels. Others support work-based learning experiences in the form of internships, apprenticeships or projects. Still others support workshops, bootcamps, competitions and hackathons.

The award recipients, areas served, and amounts awarded are:

Benedict College
South Carolina and the surrounding Southeastern region
$200,000

Board of Regents, Nevada System of Higher Education on behalf of University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise region
$199,635

Bowling Green State University
Ohio
$199,376

CyberUp
Greater St. Louis area
$200,000

Cyber Bytes Foundation
Stafford County, Virginia
$189,042.35

Digital Promise Global
East Alabama
$198,852

Energy Sector Security Consortium Inc.
Oregon and Southwest Washington
$200,000

George Mason University
District of Columbia; Alexandria, Virginia; and Fairfax, Virginia
$199,901

Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation
Phoenix/Tucson
$200,000

Kaua‘i Economic Development Board
Hawai‘i
$200,000

NPower Inc.
New Jersey/New York
$200,000

RTriad Enterprises Inc.
North Carolina
$200,000

San Diego Workforce Partnership
San Diego County
$199,820

Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE)
Cincinnati-Dayton region
$200,000

Texas Tech University
West Texas region
$199,349

The University of South Florida Board of Trustees
Florida
$200,000

WeReach
Gateway Cities of Massachusetts
$199,998.70

Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu
Las Vegas and the greater Nevada area
$200,000