After the success of 2015’s 43 GenCyber summer camps, opportunities for 2016 have greatly expanded, with plans in the works for 133 summer camps across the nation, more than triple the number in 2015. The camps will be held in 35 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico - up from 18 states last year. Also new this year will be camps hosted by non-profit organizations as well as K-12 school systems, rather than solely by universities as in previous years.
GenCyber was developed to help grow and develop the cybersecurity workforce of the future. The program launched in 2014 and is funded by a partnership between the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation. The camps, some of which are overnight, are free to participants because of funding contributions from the federal partnership. While most camps focus on educating the cybersecurity workforce of the future, some are devoted to providing cybersecurity training to today’s educators.
Cyber threats are continuously growing, and improving defenses to better protect the nation is a necessity in this digital area. The nation is experiencing a significant demand for qualified cybersecurity professionals. This need makes educating the next generation of cybersecurity experts a priority for leaders in both the public and private sectors.
“Cyber threats are real, constant, and always changing,” said Tina Ladabouche, NSA’s GenCyber Program Manager. “We are committed to helping the nation enhance cybersecurity education - providing opportunities for both teachers and students to learn more about an issue that affects all of us and will continue to do so in the future.”
Developing U.S. cybersecurity professionals is important, as well, to the academic community, which continues to play a crucial role in the success of GenCyber. Many of the universities that host GenCyber camps are Centers of Academic Excellence - a separate initiative that NSA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security oversee for more than 190 U.S. institutions of higher learning.
The GenCyber program is dedicated to providing no-cost, invaluable, hands-on education to the next generation of cybersecurity experts and the K-12 teachers leading them. The goal is to expand the program to 200 camps by 2020. With the program over halfway there, that goal will likely be reached much sooner.
For more information about GenCyber, including links to camp websites, visit the official website at www.gen-cyber.info.