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Workforce Readiness

U Illinois to Lead Planning Efforts on Network of Cybersecurity Tech Institutes

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has received a $2 million grant to develop a plan for creating a national network of technical institutes focused on cybersecurity. The goal of the network is to address the cybersecurity workforce shortage in the United States, which was estimated to be 299,000 in 2017.

The award was issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (CIRI), housed at the university.

CIRI, established in 2015 by DHS, is a consortium of universities and public- and private-sector partners led by the university. Its focus is to create networks in academia for research and education that enhance the resiliency of the nation's critical infrastructures and the businesses and public entities that own and operate those systems. CIRI is one of 10 centers of excellence managed by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate.

For the current project CIRI will work with several other institutions, including Auburn University, which hosts the McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security; Purdue University, which hosts the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS); and the University of Tulsa, which runs the Institute for Information Security (iSec). Together, the schools will do research and collaborate in developing a consolidated plan that uses an academic hub-and-spoke model to create a national network of cybersecurity institutes for educating and training people in cybersecurity practices.

"CISA sees the growing cybersecurity workforce shortage in the United States as a national security risk," said Bryan Ware, CISA assistant director of cybersecurity, in a statement. "With our government and private sector partners, CISA is striving to 'secure tomorrow' by preparing, growing and sustaining the nation's cybersecurity workforce."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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