For Immediate Release - September 12, 2013

GOVERNOR PATRICK LAUNCHES NEW CYBER SECURITY COMPETITION AND WORKFORCE TRAINING PROGRAM

Massachusetts to host Governor's Cyber Aces Championship

BOSTON – Thursday, September 12, 2013 – Governor Deval Patrick today launched a statewide competition that will challenge the Commonwealth’s most talented and ambitious residents from local high schools, community colleges and universities, as well as jobs seekers, veterans and members of our armed forces to show off their skills and knowledge in cyber security. Cyber Aces, an online competition accompanied by several training courses, aims to identify and develop top talent within Massachusetts and other participating states in order to meet the demand for skills in the growing field of cyber security. 

“The Cyber Aces program will help us create a pipeline of talent so Massachusetts so we can build on our successes and lead the nation in this evolving innovation industry,” said Governor Patrick.

  Cyber security represents both a challenge and an opportunity for Massachusetts and the nation. It is an issue with tremendous national security implications and a field with unmet demand for the jobs of the 21st century economy.  Cybersecurity jobs will be one of the highest paying occupations in the Information Technology (IT) industry and cybersecurity talent is needed in the public and private sectors. 

According to a recent Cisco analysis, demand for IT professionals is the second fastest growing field in the nation.  Additionally, this demand is projected at 10,000 for elite cyber technicians and 55,000 for operators and administrators nationwide. Yet, there is a critical shortage of qualified candidates to fill these positions. The Governor’s Cyber Aces State Championship will help spark interest in and provide skill training for careers in cyber security to help close that gap in Massachusetts and across the nation.    

The Governor’s Cyber Aces State Championship in Massachusetts is organized by the nonprofit group Cyber Aces in conjunction with the state’s Executive Offices of Education, Labor and Workforce Development, Housing and Economic Development, Public Safety and Security, the Massachusetts National Guard and the Department of Veterans Services.  The Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force Co-Chaired by Governor Patrick, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas and former Senator William “Mo” Cowan and the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Advisory Council partnered with Cyber Aces to plan for and launch this initiative. Congressman Joe Kennedy currently serves as the honorary chair of the STEM Advisory Council.

“The 21st century is confronting us with online threats that are difficult and dangerous.  We must train and educate our service members to have the right skills to combat these challenges,” said Major General L. Scott Rice, The Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard. “The world is increasingly interconnected as our commerce, national defense and education system are dependent on cyber security and we all must share the responsibility of securing this critical infrastructure.”

Cyber Aces discovers talent and builds a pathway to critical cybersecurity jobs through their free online competition and training.  After today’s launch, Cyber Aces now has official programs in six states: Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York. Three online competitions include a series of skills tests for participants in hi-demand industry areas: networking fundamentals, operating systems and secure system administration. To register for this free program visit www.cyberaces.org

“Similar to our shortage of fighter pilots at the start of World War II, now we have a critical shortage of skilled cyber defenders,” said Cyber Aces Founder Alan Paller. “And like the pilot training programs of that era, Cyber Aces initiatives, like this state championship, are how we will create the specialists we need.”

“The Advanced Cyber Security Center (ACSC) is excited to partner with the Commonwealth to develop the state's next-generation cyber workforce,” said ACSC Executive Director Charlie Benway. “Our members, who are leading the way in cutting-edge cyber security, are eager to help fulfill the Governor’s vision of a talent pipeline that further positions Massachusetts as a leader in facing the nation's most advanced cyber threats.”

Top performers from the fall program will be invited to the Governor's State Championship held in Boston on May 3, 2014.  These live "Net Wars" games are exciting, high-stakes simulations of real world scenarios with a real-time scoreboard. State Championship winners may sit for an entrance exam for admission to a Cyber Academy where industry recognized certification can lead to high-paying jobs in both public and private sectors. 

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