Posted: Jul 3, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. (July 2, 2018) – North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley and Bismarck State College (BSC) President Dr. Larry Skogen announce an educational collaboration with Palo Alto Networks that will grow the college’s Cybersecurity and Computer Networks Program. Cybersecurity had a zero percent unemployment rate in 2016 and is one of the most in-demand and growing career fields worldwide.

Palo Alto Networks, the global cybersecurity leader, shared details about its educational initiatives at its annual Ignite user conference in Anaheim, Calif., in late May with BSC named as an education partner. The collaboration enables BSC to scale online and classroom cybersecurity offerings, including a new bachelor of applied science degree by fall 2019.

“It is essential that students at all levels have the training and skills they need to meet 21st century workforce needs driven by rapid technological change,” Gov. Burgum said. “Through this collaboration, North Dakota will be well-positioned to offer world-class degrees and professional certificates to any college-age or adult learner and BSC will make a genuine impact on quickly filling vacancies within the cybersecurity workforce, providing the talent needed in our hospitals, refineries, technology companies, power plants, in state government and more.”

“This collaboration is all about the students. Thanks to Palo Alto Networks we can expand student opportunities in one of the most relevant and vital fields of this era. BSC is thrilled to be engaged, and to see the vision of Governor Burgum align with the cybersecurity focus Chancellor Hagerott has led within the North Dakota University System,” says Larry C. Skogen, Bismarck State College president.  

Mark Anderson, president of Palo Alto Networks, says, “We recognize and appreciate the need to develop more cybersecurity experts around the globe and we support the approach that BSC and the State of North Dakota are taking. We look forward to collaborating with both of these organizations to drive cybersecurity awareness, education and expertise, and to ultimately achieve our shared mission to protect our collective way of life in the digital age.”

“With the cybersecurity workforce gap on pace to hit 1.8 million jobs by 2022 – a 20 percent increase since 2015 – we have an unparalleled opportunity to create a comprehensive, statewide approach to cyber across our educational systems and workforce,” Riley said. “This effort demonstrates our commitment to ‘Every student, every school, cyber educated,’ and will help meet industry needs across the public and private sectors while providing our students rewarding career fields.”

Riley also presented at the 3-day conference, with a presentation titled “Building North Dakota’s Mission Control for the Cyber Moonshot.”