Diversity at CCI
Increasing diversity in the cybersecurity field is a foundational part of CCI’s mission of workforce development.
As of November, 2022, CyberSeek reported that there were only enough cybersecurity workers in the U.S. to fill 65 percent of open positions. In Virginia, that number was 68 percent.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a job growth rate of 35 percent from 2021 to 2031, or about 19,500 new positions each year.
Boosting the members of underrepresented groups in the field will fill a need in both Virginia and the nation, while also providing these populations with job opportunities for high-paying positions.
Diversifying the backgrounds, experiences, viewpoints, and cultures of the workforce will also improve solutions produced in the field.
A Need for Outreach
According to a report from the Aspen Digital Tech Policy hub, 9 percent of cybersecurity workers identify as Black, 4 percent as Hispanic, and and 8 percent as Asian. Women are 51 percent of the population, but 24 percent of the cybersecurity workforce.
An Education Week story theorizes that students with disabilities might be directed away from STEM courses. This could be due to:
- School-funding formulas based on standardized tests. Students can get lower scores on exams that don’t accommodate their abilities.
- Students lack access to facilities such as STEM labs.
CCI’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee works to increase diversity through programs designed to increase participation of underrepresented groups.
Members of the committee include:
- Nathan Carter, chair, Northern Virginia Community College
- Michele McDonald, Commonwealth Cyber Initiative
- Tracy Lewis Williams, Radford University
- Jen Allen, Virginia Commonwealth University
- Aurelia Williams, Norfolk State University
Some examples of the committee's actions include:
A discussion by Wayne A. Scales, J. Byron Maupin Professor of Engineering at Virginia Tech, on the benefits of researchers partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions.
Tips on Outreach
A webinar featuring National Academy of Education President Gloria Ladson-Billings.
The event also featured a panel discussion on how-to tips to increase diversity.
Going to Them
A webinar led by Jordan Mason, program manager of CCI’s Northern Virginia Node, on increasing diversity in cybersecurity programs.