The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has agreed to work with the Department of Education and a new organization, the National Cybersecurity Education Council (NCEC), to develop a strategic public-private partnership to promote formal cybersecurity education.
The plan, outlined in a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), is designed to help the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) meet one of its top priorities, to "broaden the pool of skilled workers capable of supporting a cyber-secure nation."
NICE is coordinated by NIST, and the program's goals are to enhance the nation's cybersecurity through improving awareness, formal education, workforce structure, and workforce training and professional development in cybersecurity.
NIST, the Department of Education and NCEC agreed to work together with their state and local counterparts to enhance formal cybersecurity education programs for kindergarten through 12th grade, higher education and vocational programs to provide skilled cybersecurity workers for both the private sector and government. They will cooperate on the development of innovative cybersecurity education programs, share ideas and concepts to enhance cybersecurity programs and engage in cooperative program planning and development.
The idea for this partnership was conceived at the first NICE Workshop in August 2010. Cybersecurity groups, including the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Cyberwatch ran with the idea, and now NCEC comprises 67 organizations, industry, academia and individuals—including many of the country's largest computer organizations.
"This MOU is the first example of public-private partnerships that NICE will use to enhance and extend its reach and effectiveness across the country," said NICE Lead Ernest McDuffie. "Such partnerships are a key strategy for the future operations of NICE."
NCEC first's task under the MOU is to build a comprehensive baseline listing of formal cybersecurity education activities operating across the country. This will be a valuable aid to NICE and others interested in identifying potential partners and in addressing any unmet needs.
Other federal agencies and organizations are welcome to join the effort. Interested groups should contact NICE Lead Ernest McDuffie at emcduffie [at] nist.gov. To learn more about NICE, see the website http://csrc.nist.gov/nice; about NCEC, contact the NCSA at http://www.staysafeonline.org/.