Biden administration aims to solve IT worker shortage, names diversity as solution

The Biden administration rolled out the 'National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy' to solve the growing nationwide IT worker shortage.

The White House will ‘grow and enhance the cyber workforce through improving its diversity and inclusion,’ the document states.

The Biden administration named diversity as a solution to the nation’s growing information technology workforce shortage in a report it released July 31.

The “National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy” plan will “strengthen the cyber workforce through greater diversity and inclusion.” It will “transform cyber education” and “foster extensive collaboration between employers, educators, government and other key stakeholders to meet both urgent and long-term workforce needs.” 

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Black Americans comprise 12% of the workforce but only 8% of those in technology professions, the document states. Hispanic Americans comprise 16% of the workforce but only 8% of those in technology professions.

The Biden administration plans to engage a number of stakeholders, including government agencies, technology companies, and universities, according to the report. One such partner is the Office of the National Cyber Director, which “is committed to greater diversity among internship applicants through increased recruitment and outreach to underrepresented communities, such as women, people of color, and people with disabilities,” according to a fact sheet of the report.

The program will also “build and leverage ecosystems to improve cyber education, from K-12 education, to higher education, community colleges, and technical schools” and “make cyber education and training more affordable and accessible.”

Examples of some of the initiatives include a series of Google-funded cybersecurity clinics hosted at various universities and a National Science Foundation grant program.

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Funding universities may not be the answer, however, as many cyber graduates are struggling to find work after school, according to a 2020 National Center for Education Statistics report. Computer and information sciences had the highest unemployment rate of any profession for those aged 25 to 29 with a bachelor’s degree (5.6%), the report states. 

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