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House Bill Aims for Diverse Cyber Workforce – MeriTalk | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

A pair of Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation last week that aims to create a new program within the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to diversify the cybersecurity workforce by bolstering recruitment from underprivileged communities across the U.S.

The Diverse Cybersecurity Workforce Act introduced by Reps. Haley Stevens, D-Mich., and Shontel Brown, D-Ohio on May 21 proposes giving CISA $20 million per year to build up that kind of program.

“Bringing diversity to the cybersecurity workforce makes our country safer, our economy stronger, and our diverse communities more prosperous. There are hundreds of thousands of good-paying, American cybersecurity jobs that need to be filled, and we will only meet this need by encouraging a wider set of people to work in this growing field,” said Rep. Brown.

The proposed program would promote the cybersecurity field among disadvantaged communities, older individuals, people with disabilities, and those from nontraditional educational paths. This broad scope is designed to ensure a diverse and inclusive cybersecurity workforce, the lawmakers said.

“We have a diverse country, and we need a cybersecurity workforce that reflects our people, bringing new ideas, backgrounds, and experiences to the table,” added Rep. Brown.

Lawmakers stress the critical shortage of cybersecurity professionals, evidenced by more than 400,000 unfilled positions. And they underscored the lack of diversity in the field, quoting figures that say 24 percent of the U.S. cybersecurity workforce is made up of women, with Black people coming in at nine percent, Hispanic people at four percent, and Native Americans at one percent.

“In order to ensure the security of our cyber infrastructure we need to have the best workforce possible and that means employing Americans of all backgrounds,” said Rep. Stevens.

“That’s why I am proud to co-lead the Cybersecurity Workforce Act with Rep. Shontel Brown which would empower CISA to increase recruitment of cybersecurity professionals from underrepresented communities. Connecting Americans with good jobs that also protect our security interests is a win for everyone,” she added.

The bill has attracted more than 30 Democratic cosponsors, and has been referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security.


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