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Workforce Development

One of CIRI's strategic mission areas is to contribute to the development of a robust, well prepared pipeline of professionals equipped to tackle the rising challenges associated with securing and protecting critical infrastructure assets. Our efforts in this area feature a range of tools and  products, from comprehensive research projects to webinars and conferences.

National Scale Workforce Development Initiatives

Driven by a renewed and heightened focus on workforce development by the Federal Government, CIRI leadership has increased its focus on strategic planning and budget allocations for expanded workforce development initiatives.

As part of the efforts to enhance the Nation’s cybersecurity, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the DOC, was tasked to develop a codified, standardized process for cybersecurity. Many of CIRI’s initiatives have been based around increasing an understanding of this process. In an effort to address the urgent workforce development needs of the greater homeland security enterprise, CIRI along with its partners are working together to develop and execute impactful workforce development initiatives and highlighted below.

  • Cyber Secure Dashboard Integration
    • The Cyber Secure Dashboard is a full featured management application designed to speed initial assessment, clarify and prioritize requirements, and integrate knowledge from your entire security operation into a single, easy to navigate tool. It cross-references multiple DoD mandated control requirements and risk management standards.
  • CISA/CIRI Institutes Planning Project
    • The Hub & Spoke project seeks to address a national shortage of cybersecurity professionals by creating an academic regional hub and spoke model which CISA can implement. In this network, there would be a “hub” that will develop, coordinate and manage relationships with “spoke” schools within the region, to develop and provide standardized curricula. 
  • CyberTalent Bridge
    • The CyberTalent Bridge empowers businesses to map the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required to perform cybersecurity tasks with the cybersecurity KSAs of the personnel within their own workforce as well as candidates for new-hire positions. Not only can businesses make use of already available resources, this tool will also help them choose appropriate training to build on existing knowledge.

Student Engagement 

As technological developments bring state-of-the-art advancements into most American households, the need for a wider understanding of cybersecurity has become a necessity. In an effort to support this understanding, CIRI is supporting and developing initiatives to engage a younger audience in cybersecurity early on.

An important step in securing the future of the cybersecurity workforce is engaging students early on. Fostering an interest in cybersecurity careers ensures that this important field sees a needed growth in available experts. CIRI actively contributes to this growth by hosting and developing programs for students of all ages as well as participating in national conferences offering student programs dedicated to cyber security.  

  • DHS Sponsored MSI Summer Research Program 
    • The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education connects the most talented and diverse college students, recent graduates, postdocs, and faculty to programs closely aligned with the interests of a variety of research facilities. 
  • COE Summit 
    • The COE Summit is an opportunity to gather some of the nation’s best academic, public, and private sector leaders to discuss strategies for advancing the mission of the Department of Homeland Security. Through their relationships with the DHS Office of University Programs within the Science and Technology Directorate, the COEs represent some of the most progressive and advanced science and strategy regarding a wide range of national security concerns.
  • MRS 2020 
    • Through presentations, panels and open forums, this symposium focuses on the attributes of resilience to adversarial events of national significance in the maritime domain.  This focuses on resiliency for future global upsets, in terms of what works, what gaps have been exposed, and what research questions ought to be studied as a first step towards enhancing Maritime Resilience.    
  • IBC/FACES
    • The Illinois Business Consulting (IBC) largest professionally-managed, student-run university consulting organization in the country and is housed at the Gies College of Business at UIUC. FACES is a Registered Student Organization that prepares students to become consultants.  IBC/FACES provide students with real-world project opportunities while helping CIRI solve business challenges. 
  • Cyber Patriots Camp
    • The CyberPatriots camp gives young students an opportunity to jump start their careers in STEM by learning from industry professionals and working together to solve cyber security problems. Prior camps hosted by CIRI have included escape room and testbed challenges.