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Education, technology leaders discuss efforts to strengthen cyber workforce in Northeast Wisconsin

Education, technology leaders discuss efforts to strengthen cyber workforce in Northeast Wisconsin
Posted at 2:50 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 19:21:40-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Northeast Wisconsin education and technology leaders are working to strengthen the area's cyber workforce.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R) 8th District, co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), and Brad Smith, Microsoft president, hosted a roundtable Monday at TitleTown Tech to discuss what's being done to train the community's workforce and how access to cyber education can be increased.

Several non-profit organizations and educational institutions attended the meeting, including the chancellors of UW Green Bay and Whitewater, the president of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, the co-founder of Gener8tor, the president of CESA 7, and the vice president of talent development for New North.

Jeff Dickert, the agency administrator for CESA 7, a local cooperative educational service agency, said they hope to introduce more computer science education in area high schools to inspire students to pursue cybersecurity or computer science. He said the agency would eventually like to bring cyber education to the kindergarten level.

"When you think about it, in kindergarten - that's 20-some years from now - they'll be in the workforce and they're going to need digital skills. So that's what we're trying to do," Dickert said.

Microsoft Philanthropies offers a program called Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, which introduces high school students to computer science. Dickert said CESA 7 hopes to have all 8,000 teachers in the region "digitally skilled" so they can teach cyber education to students.

According to a press release, promoting access to cyber education was one of the CSC’s key recommendations. The Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC) was established to "develop a consensus on a strategic approach to defending the United States in cyberspace against cyber attacks of significant consequences." The finished report was presented to the public on March 11, 2020. The William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 reauthorized the Commission to collect, assess and review feedback on the analysis and recommendations within the final report, and complete the activities originally created for the Commission.