In August 2018, the MassCyberCenter at MassTech launched an open call for proposals for an inaugural called the Cybersecurity Workforce Talent Challenge Grant Program. This new effort aims to catalyze new programs and projects that will close the cybersecurity talent gap in Massachusetts, specifically at the entry-level training and hiring level.
At the close of this public procurement, 6 proposals were received and reviewed by panel of MassTech and MassCyberCenter stakeholders, including members of the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Leadership Council.
As part of his remarks during the 2018 Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum, Governor Charlie Baker announced that three projects will receive a total of $385,868 in Challenge grants to pilot efforts to prepare entry-level cybersecurity job seekers to meet the needs of Massachusetts employers and address the growing cybersecurity job crisis. The three projects awarded grants are located across the Commonwealth - in western Massachusetts, MetroWest Boston, and Southeastern Massachusetts - highlighting the demand for cybersecurity jobs that exists statewide:
- Bay Path University - Longmeadow, Mass. - “Engaging Student Interns in Cybersecurity Audits with Smaller Supply Chain” - $250,000: Bay Path, a university in western Massachusetts, will lead a project that will engage thirty undergrad and graduate cybersecurity students, primarily women, in a full year of challenging experiences as paid interns on cybersecurity teams that will provide cyber audits at reduced costs for small- to mid-sized companies.
- STEMatch - Wellesley, Mass. - “Securing Leadership in Cybersecurity for the Commonwealth (SLICC)” - $61,178: STEMatch proposes a unique and creative collaboration between community colleges, Mass.-based cybersecurity service and technology providers, and end-user businesses to expand the pool of potential cybersecurity candidates to underrepresented groups and displaced workers, ensure that community college programs can deliver successful entry-level security professionals at scale, and maximize efficiency and effectiveness in job placement of educated students.
- MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board - New Bedford, Mass. - “South East Cyber Sec” -$74,690: A public-private partnership between the regional workforce boards of Southeastern Massachusetts, Bristol Community College, the South Coast Chamber of Commerce, and employers such as Hub Tech, Inc. This pilot will help address the lack of skills and work experiences affecting Massachusetts employers and will utilize best practices developed in Israel, programs such as the Rashi Foundation’s Magshimim program, which create training and work experiences for students in grades 10-12. The “South East Cyber Sec” project aims to identify 20 talented high school juniors and seniors from Southeastern Massachusetts and shepherd them through a 15-month cybersecurity program.
During the 2018 Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum, Deputy Secretary Carolyn Kirk of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (L) joined Matthew Smith of Bay Path University and Stephanie Helm, the new Director of the MassCyberCenter at MassTech, to celebrate Bay Path's $250,000 Cybersecurity Workforce Talent Challenge grant to bolster the cyber talent pipeline in Massachusetts.