CISA expanding cybersecurity education program nationwide

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly said the agency is planning to expand a K-12 cybersecurity education program nationwide after the initiative’s success in the state of Louisiana. 

CISA has been funding the “Range” program from CYBER.ORG in Louisiana through a Cybersecurity Education and Training Assistance Program (CETAP) grant. The program focuses on high school students, but all K-12 teachers are given tools and free resources to teach cybersecurity in classrooms. The Range program can help teachers educate students about “deploying and discovering cyberattacks in a safe and controlled, virtual environment,” according to a press release about the program.

The labs in the program are built around preparing students for the CompTIA Security+ Exam – a test that provides students with a starting point for intermediate-level cybersecurity jobs. 

“To meet the cyber threats of the future, we need to start by preparing for them today. Early cyber education is critical to our national security and tomorrow’s cybersecurity professionals are sitting in today’s classrooms,” Easterly said. “The CYBER.ORG Range will make hands-on cyber education accessible to students nationwide helping to build the foundation of our nation’s future cybersecurity.”

The program was supported by the state of Louisiana — Governor John Bel Edwards joined Easterly for the announcement — and it will now be expanded to all 50 states. 

“The CYBER.ORG Range is designed to lower the existing barriers to entry into the cybersecurity field by helping ensure that all students are cyber literate and have core cybersecurity skills,” said Laurie Salvail, Director of CYBER.ORG.

CYBER.ORG previously announced similar efforts aimed at historically black colleges and universities.