Inside a growing federal effort to prepare students for cybersecurity careers

Editor’s note: This story led off this week’s Future of Learning newsletter, which is delivered free to subscribers’ inboxes every other Wednesday with trends and top stories about education innovation. Subscribe today!

In the winter of 2019, a group of college faculty members, education consultants and government employees from the Department of Education and the National Security Agency were discussing how to address a talent gap in cybersecurity — there were more 300,000 job openings in the growing sector and no one qualified to fill them. Their idea: train career and technical educators to teach students about the field and build a pathway from K-12 to a career.

In early 2020, the Department of Education, in collaboration with several other federal agencies, launched CTE CyberNet, an intensive professional development program for K-12 educators that would meet in person over the summer. Then the pandemic hit. Like most everything else that summer, the program moved online — and educators quickly realized just how crucial a background in cybersecurity would be.

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