The Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (CIRI) has secured $2 million in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) funding.
The effort led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) would result in developing a plan CISA would implement to build a national network of cybersecurity technical institutes.
The CIRI, which officials described as a consortium of universities and public and private sector partners led by UIUC, was established by DHS five years ago to focus on creating networks in academia for research and education, enhancing resiliency of the nation’s critical infrastructures and the businesses, as well as public entities that own and operate those assets and systems.
“This is exactly the type of national need that the DHS Centers of Excellence network was established to help our nation address,” Gia Harrigan, DHS S&T federal program manager for CIRI, said. “Building capacity to address critical workforce and education gaps across academia and the broader Homeland Security Enterprise is one of the things they do best.”
Bryan Ware, CISA assistant director of cybersecurity, said the agency sees the growing cybersecurity workforce shortage in the United States as a national security risk.
“With our government and private sector partners, CISA is striving to secure tomorrow by preparing, growing, and sustaining the nation’s cybersecurity workforce,” he said. “This award to create a national network of institutes to educate and train dynamic and diverse cybersecurity professionals is part of the administration and CISA’s initiatives and efforts to begin a trend of reducing this workforce gap.”
DHS and CISA maintain an estimated 299,000 active openings for cybersecurity-related jobs in the United States as of August 2017.