“The new Nevada economy is innovation and technology-based, and every industry requires talented cybersecurity professionals.” -Governor Sandoval
As a part of its people strategy to develop the STEM workforce needed by the New Nevada Economy, OSIT has partnered with entities throughout the State to grow Nevada’s cyber workforce.
Postsecondary Workforce Development
OSIT, through STEM Workforce Challenge Grants, seeks to spark the creation of lasting partnerships between industry and postsecondary workforce training providers. OSIT has awarded $629,969 to four organizations to create cyber workforce programs.
Transmosis was awarded $53,000 to design an employer-driven cyber security training program, in a partnership with Sands Corporation and Southwest Gas. Transmosis’ cybersecurity employer driven training program will focus on training incumbent workers, displaced workers, and postsecondary students. The program is aimed at trainees from underrepresented groups including minorities, females, veterans and persons with disabilities. The program offers trainees the opportunity to acquire and enhance their skills in cybersecurity based on the needs of the Clark County region’s employers and provide a direct pathway to employment. Graduates of the program will receive an industry recognized CompTIA cybersecurity certification upon passing the test. This program will accept 15 applicants with a target job placement rate of 80% (12 graduates) within 9 month of graduation. The average starting salary for an entry level position in cybersecurity such as a Cybersecurity Analyst is $72,000.
College of Southern Nevada (CSN) has partnered with Switch and the member companies of the Las Vegas Chapter of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) to create a new Cyber Security AAS degree and an advanced Certificate of Achievement, replacing CSN’s existing Network Security program. CSN’s $149,882 STEM Workforce Challenge Grant will fund the development of five new courses that better meet industry’s changing needs:
- Ethical Hacking
- Physical Security
- Incident Handling
- Advanced Network Security
- Penetration Testing
As a result of the training, students will be prepared for the following six in-demand industry certifications:
- CompTIA A+
- CompTIA Network+
- CompTIA Security+
- Cisco CCENT
- EC-Council CEH
The STEM Workforce Challenge Grant will also fund the creation of a state-of-the-art lab to provide students with the hands-on-training employers demand. The lab will also allow CSN to increase enrollment capacity by 30%. The projected growth rate through 2022 of jobs requiring cyber security skills is 29.8%. Students can expect a starting wage between $45,000 and $55,000 per year growing with experience and additional training to the mean industry wage of $84,620.
Students receiving a Cyber Security AAS degree and an advanced Certificate of Achievement have the option of transferring their credits to one of Nevada’s four-year universities to continue their training, acquire more credentials and advance their careers. CSN expects the first students to graduate with a Cyber AAS degree in the spring of 2018. When students graduate, CSN and the Las Vegas Chapter of the Society for Information Management have partnered to develop an internship program to assist students find employment.
Western Nevada College (WNC) in Carson City was awarded $129,652 to fund the development of a Cybersecurity-Information Assurance program. WNC will become an Academic Partner with EC-Council and provide Certified Network Defender (CND), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) industry-recognized credentials. WNC will install NOC Stations in a lab environment giving students hands-on experience monitoring sandbox networks. Completers of the program will be prepared to work in the industry as Computer User Support Specialists, Computer Network Support Specialties, and Computer Repairers. WNC anticipates graduating about 70 students per year. The average starting wage is about $55,000.
The Desert Research Institute (DRI) was awarded $297,435 to create a cybersecurity internship program, in partnership with the SANS Institute, Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC), and Western Nevada College (WNC). DRI will provide hands-on experience responding to a wide array of cyber-attacks including designing hardened server systems from scratch with a security mindset, treating malware infections, defending against real-time denial of service attacks, and providing security awareness training to end-users. Program completers will receive a SANS Anatomy for Cybersecurity certificate, a 120-hour internship, and college credit through TMCC or WNC. Funding from OSIT will purchase hardware and software necessary to build a cyber-sandbox and to design curriculum. The program will train five students in its first year before ramping up to about 15 in subsequent years. The starting wage for entry-level cybersecurity analysts is $55,000 per year.
Pathways to the Workforce
To support and enhance existing efforts throughout Nevada to provide high school students with the opportunity to progress toward an industry-recognized, high-demand, STEM postsecondary credential, certificate, or degree and to support and enhance existing efforts throughout Nevada to provide high school instructors with the professional learning and certifications necessary to teach high-demand STEM program areas, OSIT offers STEM Workforce Pathways grants to teachers and schools that provide the necessary professional development, curriculum, and program infrastructure for cybersecurity programs.
The Washoe County School District (WCSD) received a $138,647 STEM Pathways Grant. WCSD will use grant funds from OSIT to create a career and Technical education (CTE) program of study in cybersecurity at two high schools; Hug High School and McQueen High School. Students will complete the program with industry credentials in Comp TIA A+, Network+, and Security+. Students will be qualified for entry-level jobs in cybersecurity upon high school graduation or qualified to enter more advanced postsecondary cybersecurity programs. At capacity, the two high school programs will enroll about 100 students. WCSD will use grant funds to 1) train current secondary teachers at the two high schools and 2) purchase furniture, technology equipment, and textbooks for the learning lab.
Outreach and Awareness
Governor Sandoval and OSIT partnered with the SANS Institute to raise awareness of the career opportunities available in cybersecurity and identify promising future professionals through CyberStart- an online education program allowing students to become cyber protection agents and solve challenges similar to those faced in the real world. College and high school students from Nevada competed in a summer challenge in 2017 and high school girls from Nevada competed against peers in 16 other states in February.
- #1- The number one scorer in the nation during the first competition was a student at the University of Nevada Reno
- 1,075- Nevada registered the second most girls in the country, ahead of states with greater populations.
- 290- Number of girls registered by Cheyenne HS, the most in the nation at a single school.
- 4- Number of teams Nevada placed in the top 100 in the country.
- 52- Teams that scored above 10,000 points, a key metric indicating promising talent in cybersecurity.
Other Cybersecurity Information
- The Nevada Department of Education has finalized statewide Career and Technical Education standards for cybersecurity, including the development of a new 3-course pathway in which students will earn CompTia Network+ and A+ certifications. OSIT has partnered with the Department of Education and the College of Southern Nevada to seek funding and develop opportunities for high school teachers to receive the necessary training and certifications to teach courses in cybersecurity.
- Nevada has 59 CyberPatriot teams, mostly in Clark County. CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program. At the center of CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. The competition puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. In the rounds of competition, teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems and are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services in a six hour period. Teams compete for the top placement within their state and region, and the top teams in the nation earn all-expenses paid trips to Baltimore, MD for the National Finals Competition where they can earn national recognition and scholarship money.