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UIUC to Lead $2M Effort to Create Nationwide Cybersecurity Education Network

by Kim Gudeman, CIRI / Nov 5, 2020

William Cope

Bill Cope, professor of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, is the principal investigator for this newly-funded collaborative project. The Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute, led by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has been selected to head up a $2 million project to research and develop a plan for a national cybersecurity education network.

The research is being funded through a collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

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. Spoke schools would be responsible for delivering vocational curricula to students with a special focus on rural, minority, gender diverse, veteran, and state, local, territorial, and tribal populations.

“We are not graduating enough cybersecurity professionals to meet growing demands,” says Cope, who is leading the effort. “In this project, we won’t be restricted to a network of just traditional universities and community colleges. We’ll be working with other organizations, particularly with those who have access to these underrepresented populations, in an effort to truly create a collaborative cybersecurity education and training network at a national scale.”

CISA serves as the nation’s risk advisor, working with partners to defend against threats and build more secure and resilient cyber networks and infrastructure. In this capacity, the agency is leading an initiative to build the cybersecurity workforce, resulting in the award to CIRI.

Read more at the CIRI website...