The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) released a report outlining best practices in building the cybersecurity workforce through regional partnerships.

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) is addressing the critical issue by energizing and promoting a robust network and ecosystem of cybersecurity education, training, and workforce development. Supporting this mission, objective 3.3 of the NICE Strategic Plan emphasizes guiding career development and workforce planning by facilitating state and regional consortia to identify cybersecurity pathways addressing local workforce needs.

NIST says that by fostering regional alliances:

  • workforce needs of local business and non-profit organizations are better aligned with the learning objectives of education and training providers conforming to the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework,
  • the pipeline of students pursuing cybersecurity careers is enlarged,
  • more Americans are upskilled and moved into middle-class jobs in cybersecurity, and
  • local economic development to stimulate job growth is supported.

In September 2016, the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, led by NIST, awarded funding for five pilot programs for Regional Alliances and Multistakeholder Partnerships to Stimulate Cybersecurity Education and Workforce Development.

The programs focused on bringing together employers who have cybersecurity skill shortages with educators to focus on developing a skilled workforce to meet industry needs within local or regional economies. Awards were provided to universities, a consortium, and a community college who pre-identified partnerships with at least one of each of the following:

  • K-12 school or Local Education Agency
  • Institution of higher education or college/university system
  • Local employer

Each of the five programs had unique approaches to addressing the cybersecurity workforce needs in their region. These efforts included building interest in and pathways to become a cybersecurity professional and encouraging more employer engagement in local communities in

The awards went to: the Partnership to Advance Cybersecurity Education and Training in New York, the Cincinnati-Dayton Cyber Corridor in Ohio, the Cyber Prep Program at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado, the Hampton Roads Cybersecurity Education, Workforce and Economic Development Alliance in Virginia and the Arizona Statewide Cyber Workforce Consortium, based in Phoenix, Ariz.

The report includes a summary of the work and accomplishments from each of the programs.  

According to NIST, "This publication was created for those seeking guidance on how to organize and facilitate regional efforts to enhance cybersecurity education and workforce development. While this document explores some elements for consideration when forming alliances, it is not intended to be a how-to guide that gives specific instructions. NIST believes that this is best left to the local or regional experts who are familiar with the needs of their specific community."