A state’s ability to manage, prevent and mitigate damage from cyberattacks depends on a workforce trained in the relevant skills. Unfortunately, many state agencies, including those focused on IT and cybersecurity, lack sufficient numbers of skilled employees. Building a cybersecurity workforce pipeline will address these challenges as well as grow a state’s economy by creating a new engine for job growth.
Washington state received an award from NASCIO in 2016 for their unique initiatives to attract and retain IT employees. Specifically, they are: experimenting with self-management; “google-fying” their offices; reclassifying state government technology positions; and hiring for value alignment instead of skills.
The Security Operations Center (SOC) for Indiana hires students from Purdue University as parttime cybersecurity analysts--15 students, each for 12 hours per week. Officials report the model is incredibly efficient. For the cost of 1.5 senior analysts, the state receives the work of nine people. Other states are replicating Indiana’s approach.
Rhode Island launched the Computer Science for Rhode Island (CS4RI) initiative to bring computer science courses into every public school by the end of 2017 through a public-private partnership.
Virginia’s Scholarship for Service initiative awards roughly 25 scholarships for up to two years for students studying cybersecurity. Upon graduation, recipients will work for a state agency for up to two years.