CYBER.ORG today announced the creation of National Cybersecurity Education Week, a series of events to celebrate and advance the state of K-12 cybersecurity education in the United States. National Cybersecurity Education Week was recognized on the Senate floor by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) with a bi-partisan resolution. The inaugural National Cybersecurity Education Week begins during the organization’s Cyber Education Discovery Forum (CEDF) with the goal of improving student access to K-12 cybersecurity education and increasing teacher professional development to ensure that all students are cybersecurity literate as early as kindergarten.
Recent cyber threats and ransomware attacks have created an urgent need to expand K-12 cybersecurity education. At the same time, the cybersecurity workforce gap tops over 460,000 open cybersecurity positions nationwide. Solving the nation’s cybersecurity challenges requires increased investment in K-12 cybersecurity education, as introducing students to cybersecurity is key to sparking interest and developing the technical cybersecurity skills required to pursue cybersecurity careers.
“Recent, unprecedented cyberattacks like the SolarWinds and Colonial Pipeline breaches demonstrate the urgency of solving the national cybersecurity workforce shortage,” said Senator Rosen. “Building and strengthening a robust cybersecurity workforce pipeline starts with K-12 cybersecurity education, which is why I am proud to introduce this bipartisan resolution with Senator Cassidy designating a National Cybersecurity Education Week.”
CYBER.ORG’s annual Cyber Education Discovery Forum (CEDF) – a virtual professional development conference designed to equip educators with cybersecurity curriculum and training to teach students ahead of the upcoming school year – and National Cybersecurity Education Week will recognize top educators, students and industry leaders working tirelessly as advocates for K-12 cybersecurity education.
Beginning in November, CYBER.ORG will solicit nominations for the teacher and student awards for the following National Cybersecurity Education Week, which will recognize teachers going above and beyond to educate the next generation and students excelling in advancing their cybersecurity education.
“We are thrilled to have Senators Rosen and Cassidy designate the inaugural National Cybersecurity Education Week, which will be foundational to helping solve the national security crisis caused by increased cyberattacks by bad actors,” said Kevin Nolten, Director of Academic Outreach at CYBER.ORG. “Introducing the next generation of cyber professionals to the field should begin in kindergarten and teachers have an important role to play as force multipliers. We are thrilled to create a forum where we can celebrate the accomplishments of the K-12 cybersecurity education community annually and convene important conversations around how we advance cybersecurity education at the ground level.”
On the heels of National Cybersecurity Education Week, CYBER.ORG will be releasing K-12 Cybersecurity Learning Standards in August. The culmination of a yearlong project to create uniform national guidelines for K-12 cybersecurity education, the standards will be made available for adoption in all states and districts at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. As the first initiative of its kind, the standards will be critical to ensuring that all students have equal access to equitable cybersecurity education and the possibility of cybersecurity careers.
Through the creation of National Cybersecurity Education Week and CYBER.ORG’s upcoming work, the organization will continue to pursue its mission of ensuring that all K-12 educators feel confident teaching cybersecurity and that students have the skills and knowledge needed to pursue cybersecurity careers in greater numbers.
CYBER.ORG, formerly the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), is a cybersecurity workforce development organization that targets K-12 students with cyber career awareness, curricular resources and teacher professional development. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) supports CYBER.ORG through a grant from the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA) to develop and distribute cybersecurity education content to educators across the country at no cost. Currently, more than 18,000 teachers across all 50 states and three U.S. territories are enrolled in the CYBER.ORG content platform. For more information, please visit http://www.CYBER.ORG.