Attracting the Next Generation Cybersecurity Workforce
This project will address the well-documented need for skilled Cybersecurity technicians in the MetroWest and Greater Boston regions of Massachusetts. Moreover, the project team aims to increase the racial and gender diversity of the overall Cybersecurity workforce that will satisfy those local workforce demands. A replicable and sustainable educational ecosystem will be developed that will recruit, retain, and graduate students in the Cybersecurity program at MassBay Community College. Through collaborations with regional industry and high school partners, the program will encourage high school students to pursue degrees, and careers, in Cybersecurity. Retention efforts will ensure that students majoring in Cybersecurity achieve a mastery of the knowledge and the practical skills needed to meet industry expectations. Students will be provided with mentoring, career advice and support, and internship opportunities to ensure their success and entry into the Cybersecurity workforce.
The educational experience provided by MassBay will be based on the development of a "Cyber Range," which is an Internet-based computer network platform that provides students with hands-on experience in Cybersecurity. Exercises will be developed to give high school and college students practical experiences in Cybersecurity. These exercises will be developed in collaboration with industry partners, using their security products, to provide students with real-world experiences in Cybersecurity. The project's Cyber Range will be used to create workshop activities for high school students, develop training materials to instruct and educate students to become peer-mentors, and offer train-the trainer workshops to high school teachers and MassBay faculty. High schools, youth serving organizations, and industry partners will use the Cyber Range to host cyber competitions, hackathons, mentoring, and internships to make students aware of and motivate them to pursue degrees in Cybersecurity.