Jim Langevin is the Distinguished Chair of the Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Jen Easterly is the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
Cybersecurity has fast become one of the most important issues of the day, for all Rhode Islanders, and across our nation. In late 2018, Congress established the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA), recognizing the importance of creating a civilian cyber defense agency completely dedicated to keeping the critical infrastructure Americans rely on every day safe from cyber threats.
Former U.S. Rep. James Langevin was central to passing the legislation that created CISA, and over the past few years we have worked together to address our nation’s cybersecurity challenges from our respective roles: one as a cybersecurity leader in Congress and the other as the current head of CISA. What we see is that the challenge of cybersecurity is only growing more complex and the threats more impactful, with the scourge of ransomware having devastating impacts on small businesses across the country. This reality makes cybersecurity a key issue for every business and municipality across the country, yet it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of cybersecurity positions remain unfilled.
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CISA has committed to closing the cybersecurity workforce gap by creating a more inclusive workforce and streamlining our hiring processes to attract and retain cyber talent from across the nation. Given that there are over a half million unfilled positions in the U.S. and 2,700 job openings in Rhode Island, this work is crucial.
But how do we recruit talent? How do we identify talent? To prepare for tomorrow, we must invest today.
Rhode Island College is rising to meet this challenge with the launch earlier this month of the Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies. As the first and only business-oriented cybersecurity degree program in Rhode Island, the Cyber Institute will make strides in developing a diverse pipeline of talented leaders.
The Cyber Institute is positioned to prepare the next generation of cyber professionals with the technical and business skills to meet the growing challenges and demands of a rapidly evolving industry. The campus is already attracting thought leaders and educators to Rhode Island to develop best practices and policy approaches to current cybersecurity challenges.
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Tackling cybersecurity often requires creative problem solving, and that’s exactly what the Cyber Institute strives to do: provide hands on experience to students from diverse backgrounds to prepare them for the future. Real world opportunities through paid internships will be available to students looking to work with Rhode Island businesses and government agencies, in particular allowing underserved students the opportunity to gain valuable experience that might otherwise have been out of reach.
Building cyber resiliency will take a whole-of-nation approach, which is why we are thrilled to be standing together once again at the beginnings of something big: the launch of the Cyber Institute. The future of the nation’s cybersecurity is bright.