U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta visited Purdue University Tuesday to announce the school’s Polytechnic Institute has been awarded a $12 million grant to ramp up its cybersecurity apprenticeship program.
During his visit, Acosta talked with students, faculty and cybersecurity business leaders on how the grant might meet the growing industry’s needs. A 2017 report from Cybersecurity Ventures projects the cybersecurity field will post between 1.5 million to 3.5 million job openings from now to 2021.
Acosta says after looking at other countries’ apprenticeship programs, he thinks the U.S. needs more collaboration.
“This partnership between the federal government, educational institutions and business is the best approach to providing education and in-demand skills simultaneously,” says Acosta.
Polytechnic Institute Dean Gary Bertoline says the program plans to work with cybersecurity businesses to streamline the transition for graduates into a job in the field.
“Believe it or not, most companies actually spend a long time training new graduates and we need to close that gap a little bit,” says Bertoline.
Purdue is one of 23 private-public apprenticeship programs to be awarded some of the $183.8 million in federal funding for the initiative. Additional funding for the program will come from some of those private corporations looking to add jobs.
CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story named expert projections for the cybersecurity field. We have updated the story to include the report and group those projections come from.