Posted: Nov 12, 2020

Bismarck, N.D.     |     North Dakota Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley today encouraged North Dakota students, parents and educators to explore the exciting educational and career opportunities available during Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week.

This nationally recognized week emphasizes the growing skills gap in cybersecurity, which has virtually zero percent unemployment. In 2018 North Dakota launched the K-20W Initiative, a statewide, comprehensive approach to computer science and cybersecurity education with a goal of “Every Student. Every School. Cyber Educated” to help advance partnerships and opportunities for students to learn 21st century skills that are in demand across industries.

“North Dakota’s leadership in cybersecurity education has been recognized nationally, including as a recent CSO50 award recipient, and I encourage our incredibly dedicated educators to tap into resources available through EduTech and our many partners for both professional development and in-classroom opportunities,” said Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley.

CyberStart America is one example of an innovative, online cybersecurity competition announced by Gov. Doug Burgum Oct. 30 that also offers scholarship opportunities. The competition runs through Feb. 28, 2021 and is open to all high school students. A digital CyberStart America poster depicts a variety of cybersecurity jobs available.

“Educators across our state can earn their cybersecurity teaching credential to teach these important elements in their classrooms, join North Dakota’s Computer Science Teachers Association, encourage students to pursue relevant cybersecurity high school courses, or promote free activities like CyberStart America,” said State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler. “We know parents view computer science and cybersecurity as priority foundational skills and we encourage every teacher and parent to take an active role in engaging with their students to explore their affinity for these valuable skills.”

“This is great time for all North Dakotans to enhance their knowledge, skills and abilities regarding all things cyber,” said Mark Hagerott, North Dakota University System Chancellor. “The digital landscape is transforming society and related job growth is accelerating at exponential rates. The University System is responding to these workforce challenges by offering new courses, certificates, and degree programs in cybersecurity and related technology fields.”

North Dakota was the first state in the nation to develop integrated computer science and cybersecurity standards. Additional accomplishments include:

  • 44 percent of public high schools taught a foundational CS course in the 19-20 school year compared to only 23 percent in the 17-18 school year and in 2019, 19 percent of AP CS exam takers were female, more than double the prior year;
  • Strategic alliances with Palo Alto Networks, Girl Scouts of the USA, Code.org, National Center for Women & IT, UCodeGirl, Gateway to Science, Microsoft, Tech ND and others have helped advance statewide efforts;
  • Over the past two years, more than 5,000 educators have participated in dozens of computer science, cybersecurity and STEAM education and awareness sessions;
  • Ten North Dakota students received national recognition by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT);
  • 11 schools and 14 teachers participated in Microsoft TEALS (Technology and Education Literacy), connecting teachers with tech-industry volunteers to create sustainable CS programs;
  • NDIT, higher education and K-12 leaders were invited recently to participate in the National Cyber Moonshot K-12 Education Pillar.

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C O N T A C T :

Kelly Ivahnenko     |     701-955-3207

krivahnenko@nd.gov
 

Jecca Geffre     |     701-955-0304

jrgeffre@nd.gov