Investing in our Future Cybersecurity Workforce Through JROTC

We all know that filling the pipeline for IT jobs is one of our nation’s biggest challenges. The Department of Labor projects there will be 3.5 million computing-related jobs available by 2026, but our current education pipeline will only fill 19% of those openings, threatening our security and global leadership.

Congress recently proposed a plan to grow the talent pipeline and diversify the computer science and cybersecurity workforce in the federal government. The Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Cyber Training Act (H.R.3266/S.2154), which was sponsored by Representatives Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Conor Lamb (D-PA) and Michael Waltz (R-FL) in the House, and Senators Jackie Rosen (D-NV), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Gary Peters (D-MI) and John Cornyn (R-TX) in the Senate, would direct the Secretary of Defense to develop a program to prepare JROTC high school students for military and civilian careers in computer science and cybersecurity

If enacted, the bill would create targeted internships, cooperative research opportunities and funding for training with an emphasis on computer science and cybersecurity education. This important legislation has the potential to bring evidence-based computer science and cybersecurity education to 500,000 students at 3,400 JROTC high schools across the United States, greatly improving the number of professionals ready to take on the cyber challenges of tomorrow.

The Department of Defense reports that 30% of JROTC cadets join the military after high school or college. The remaining 70% of cadets represent a large pool of talent that could enter into civilian roles in the defense and cybersecurity sectors if given the proper training while in the JROTC program. The JROTC Cyber Training Act is an important opportunity to fill those job openings with innovative thinkers from the JROTC program, while simultaneously growing and diversifying the future workforce.

Cybersecurity is one of the greatest technical challenges of our time, and we need to be creative to meet it. McAfee is proud to support initiatives to establish programs, such as the JROTC Cyber Training Act, that provide skills to help build the STEM pipeline, fill related job openings, and close gender and diversity gaps.

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