The National Cyber Partnership
The public-private National Cyber Partnership is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit based in Tampa Bay, Florida, created to address today's ever growing cyber and cybersecurity challenges and threats through education and workforce development.
Fueling Economic Development
Our strategy uses education and workforce development to fuel economic development by retraining displaced workers and training the chronically unemployed and underemployed, such as military veterans and economically disadvantaged youth for high skill cyber jobs with a specific focus on cybersecurity.
Regionally Organized, National in Scope
Our goal is "connecting the dots" by bringing together academic institutions, government, the military and private industry in regionally organized, broad-based consortia to seed the growth of a vigorous Florida cyber industry that can serve as a model for the rest of the country.
National Cyber Education
The National Cyber Partnership is now expanding its Cyber Studies Consortium educational initiatives throughout Florida and across the country, looking to collaborate with academic institutions as well as develop customized cyber training programs for specific industries such as law enforcement, healthcare, finance and others.
Proposed Collaboration and Scaling Plan for the Cyber Foundations Pilot
Meeting a Critical Need for Our Nation
Education in cyber and cybersecurity is critical for the continuing operation of business, government and the military - the defense of our nation's vital interests. The National Cyber Partnership directly addresses the huge demand for trained cyber and cybersecurity personnel.
As stated by the Center for Strategic and International Studies June 2014 study, Net Losses: Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime, "Cybercrime is a growth industry... A conservative estimate would be $375 billion in losses, while the maximum could be as much as $575 billion ...governments and companies underestimate how much risk they face from cybercrime and how quickly this risk can grow."
The 2014 Cisco Annual Security Report projected a 500,000 to 1 million global shortage in the number of IT security professionals needed to meet expected security challenges going forward.
The Challenge: Producing more Job Candidates more quickly with the Right Mix of Skills
Traditional academic cyber education may take as long as six years to produce trained students qualified to enter the industry, sometimes significantly longer when factoring in advanced degrees. This is far too long in the face of sharply accelerating demand - particularly coming on top of a significant shortage to begin with.
The primary focus must be a strong underpinning of basic knowledge and principles to complement competency and technical skills, sufficient for placement into the industry.
In May 2014, Alan Paller, SANS Institute Director of Research said, "Universities and colleges are not graduating students with deep technical talent and security. They are either teaching the theoretical security or they are teaching security basics, but they are not teaching the advanced hands-on skills that the nation needs." He added that they don’t have the faculty with the skills to educate their students on cybersecurity techniques. "Nobody is doing anything wrong; professors are doing what they know how to do."
New Collaborative Model for Cyber Education
The collaboration among the Cyber Partnership, Saint Leo University and TEKsystems created Cyber Foundations, a new model for cyber education launched in 2014 with a $750,000 grant from the Florida Legislature administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. After a successful pilot that demonstrated the model’s value and launched the concept of a Cyber Studies Consortium, the Florida Legislature appropriated $450,000 in FY 2016-2017 to continue and scale the program to reach a broader audience through collaboration with additional Florida colleges, universities and educational institutions-with a program at the University of West Florida in Pensacola already underway.
An Educational Model Set Apart
Cyber Foundations is not a typical 'from scratch' training program but is built to fill the requirements expressed by hiring managers for qualified personnel. It began with the highly regarded Cybersecurity Certificate Programs already in place at Saint Leo University. Cyber Foundations enhances the University's program in significant ways, including classes in subjects relevant to potential employers and fast track, online training developed by leveraging subject matter experts who remain current in their fields. Cyber Foundations packages up-to-date and regularly updated course content into online modules usable by educational partners who can utilize their existing instructional staff and the "packaged" course content - whether delivered fully online, as a hybrid offering or in a classroom - with the backing of a cadre of subject matter experts to support the primary instructors as needed.
Two Training Tracks
The long-term solution is a combination of academic education and fast track, industry-focused programs. The fast-track programs will feed personnel into the industry, where they can fill job openings and acquire the hands-on experience to tackle growing and more sophisticated cyber challenges. Fast-track programs also provide a solid foundation for further academic study of topics that are more advanced as well as delivering specialized training tailored to specific industry needs.
Fast-track programs can accommodate part-time study and get students into jobs quickly, where they can earn a salary and have access to employer-supported educational benefits.
Cyber education and training that address industry considerations is not just for the college level student but must extend to secondary schools and the lower grades. Industry-driven training includes exposure to hands-on skills.
Course Packages to Supplement or Complement Existing Academic Education
Continuously updated online course packages made available to academic institutions shortens the course development cycle, keeping the curriculum fresh and relevant to a dynamically and rapidly evolving industry. Online course packages also help academic institutions with limited resources deliver a broader and richer cyber education experience to their students.
Industry Input into Advisory Committees
Integrating ongoing industry input into Advisory Committees for curriculum development, placement activities and program implementation helps ensure students gain the training and education to meet industry needs.
Career Guidance is Key
Cyber Foundations’ success not only hinges on training but also in helping graduates secure good jobs. To this end, we collaborated with TEKsystems, a leading provider of contract services and direct job placement with nearly 30 years’ experience. Characteristically, TEKsystems places over 80,000 IT professionals into jobs and contract assignments at 6,000 client sites across North America, Europe and Asia.