Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC)

Making Innovation Central to Rhode Island's Future Gina M. Raimondo, Governor

Representative Langevin Introduces High School Program to Build Cyber Workforce

Published on March 8, 2011

Over one-hundred students from eighteen high schools accross Rhode Island are participating in the Rhode Island Cyber Foundations Competition, a new program designed to meet the growing US demand for cyber professionals by giving students a hands-on introduction to the field of information technology. According to Langevin, who is founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, there is an alarming shortfall of workers who have the skills needed to secure our cyberinfrastructure.  According to reports, the United States has no more than 10,000 people with the security skills to compete in cyberspace at world class levels when we need 20,000 to 30,000 skilled workers. 

Through the month long competition students will compete in three progressively challenging competitions where they can demonstrate their mastery of the foundations of effective cyber security: computer internals and system administration, safe web-site development, and Java and C programming. These skills are critical to a young person looking for a new information technology job in, or outside of, the cyber security field. Top scoring students in each of the three competitions will be recognized, as will schools with the top scoring teams. Although State All Stars will be named, this program is not designed to find just a few standouts. Rather, it is designed to find hundreds of talented young people around Rhode Island, raise their awareness and engage them so that they consider college or military programs where they can continue to develop their knowledge and skills and become key players in the cyber security of the United States.

Information technology is one of Rhode Island's strongest industry sectors with jobs paying higher than average wages. Approximately 10,000 Rhode Islanders work in IT-related jobs with a median per capital income of $59,000 significantly higher than the median overall per capita income of $34,000. Initiatives like the Cyber Challenge are important if Rhode Island is to isignificantly elevate its capacity to introduce students to cyber career they may otherwise not pursue and to provide employers with the skilled workforce they need to expand and grow.

The U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC) is a national initiative run by the Center for Information Security, a non-profit organization that also manages the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center with the goal of creating a broader pipeline into the cyber field to meet the anticipated severe shortage of cyber security specialists.

Read more about the Cyber Challenge

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