A group of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced legislation with the goal of addressing the skills gap in the cybersecurity industry through training incentives.

The New Collar Jobs Act, introduced by representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Ann Kuster (D-NH), would modify federal student loan repayment programs to incentivize professionals to take cybersecurity jobs in "economically-distressed counties." Federal grants to cybersecurity programs would also see a boost.

For employers, the bill would offer tax credits to companies that send employees to learn cybersecurity skills in accordance with guidelines set by the National Insitute of Standards and Technology. Those companies that demonstrate usage of the tax credit would also receive a 5% increase to their evaluation score for future government contracting bids.

Congressman Ted Lieu said: “I am proud to introduce the New Collar Jobs Act, a bill that will help re-educate our workforce with the skills needed to defend our nation against cyberattacks. I am deeply concerned about the many devastating cyberattacks and threats to our national security, particularly in the industrial sector. With high unemployment impacting this sector and the many cyber threats to power plants and manufacturing plants, our legislation will re-tool our workers for careers of the future. Our vision is to improve our economy and national security by re-educating industrial workers with high-demand skills in cyber to fill these “New Collar” jobs – positions that have competitive salaries, career growth potential, and cannot be outsourced.”