Tuesday, May 21, 2024

CYBER.ORG’s Inaugural EdCon 23 to expand K-12 cybersecurity literacy, diversify workforce

by BIZ Magazine

BOSSIER CITY, La.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jun 20, 2023–CYBER.ORG – a workforce development organization funded through the Cybersecurity Education and Training Assistance Program (CETAP) grant from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) – today announced its inaugural CYBER.ORG EdCon 23 at the Mesa Convention Center in Mesa, Arizona, this week from June 20-22, 2023.

CYBER.ORG EdCon 23 is a national conference designed to empower over 300 K-12 educators and education leaders to teach cybersecurity education, improve cybersecurity literacy nationwide and encourage the next generation of diverse talent to pursue careers in the field. This year’s conference is held in partnership with Maricopa County School District.

Amidst the increased prevalence of AI and rapid adoption of advanced technologies, the United States faces a workforce shortage of more than 755,000 cybersecurity professionals. Elevating the next generation of diverse talent is more urgent than ever. The Biden Administration and CISA Director Jen Easterly have emphasized the importance of building a strong, diverse cybersecurity talent pipeline through various initiatives, including the National Cybersecurity Strategy and the release of guidance to safeguard K-12 organizations from cybersecurity threats. CYBER.ORG EdCon 23 follows the organization’s recent diversity and inclusion initiatives with CISA, including Project AccessProject REACH, and the CYBER.ORG Range.

“CYBER.ORG is leading the charge to create a more diverse pool of future cybersecurity changemakers, and we want the first annual EdCon to reflect that spirit,” said Laurie Salvail, Executive Director of CYBER.ORG. “K-12 educators are key to making cybersecurity education accessible to all students – regardless of their background. We are proud to partner with Maricopa County School District to help more K-12 educators in the region bring cybersecurity into the classroom. Solving the cybersecurity workforce gap will only happen through cross-industry collaboration, which is why we broadened the conference’s focus and expanded attendees to include education, cybersecurity, and public sector leaders.”

Made possible by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and in partnership with Maricopa County School District, CYBER.ORG EdCon 23 is geared toward K-12 educators who are new to and experts at teaching cybersecurity education, school superintendents and administrators, and higher education, government, nonprofit and cybersecurity professionals. Attendees will have access to:

“We are thrilled to partner with CYBER.ORG to bring cybersecurity education into our district’s classrooms and expose our youngest learners to the endless possibilities of cybersecurity careers,” said Steve Watson, Superintendent at Maricopa County Schools. “I look forward to hosting the ‘Teacher Power-Up’ series at CYBER.ORG EdCon 23, which will provide teachers with innovative lessons, resources, and strategies to use in their classrooms.”

Additionally, CYBER.ORG will recognize the following Educator Award winners leading the adoption of cybersecurity education in their K-12 schools. Each will present an interactive class at the conference.

  • Bobbie Bastian – Adams 12 Five Star Schools in Thornton, Colorado
  • Bryan Hower – School District of Lancaster in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Diana T. Mackiewicz – Eagle Hill School in Hardwick, Massachusetts
  • Moriah Walker – Lakota Local School District in Liberty Township, Ohio

The conference takes place during the second annual National Cybersecurity Education Month in June, which has received bipartisan support from Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and other members of Congress. The month-long event raises awareness of K-12 cybersecurity education and introduces students to the power of cybersecurity careers, helping to bolster the U.S. cybersecurity workforce.

“Recent cyberattacks targeting the United States increase the urgency to grow and sustain a knowledgeable and skilled cybersecurity workforce,” said Senator Rosen (D-NV). “As the first computer programmer to serve in the United States Senate, I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan resolution recognizing June as National Cybersecurity Education Month to highlight how cybersecurity education can provide learning and career opportunities for students across the country and bolster our ability to defend against cybersecurity threats.”

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