Rep. McClain, Clarke Introduce Bipartisan National Community College Cybersecurity Challenge Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Representatives Lisa McClain (R-MI) and Yvette Clarke (D-NY) introduced the bipartisan National Community College Cybersecurity Challenge Act. The legislation aims to reduce the cybersecurity skills gap by expanding cybersecurity programs for community colleges.

“America’s next generation will face a different world than the one we know today, and ensuring they have the tools to succeed is a responsibility we must take seriously,” said Rep. McClain. “I am proud to introduce the National Community College Cybersecurity Challenge Act to help bolster our nation’s cybersecurity workforce to meet the challenge of moving forward in the cyber age. The work to close the skills gap in cybersecurity must start now, and it must start with the next generation.”

“As America readies to face and overcome our cyber adversaries in the 21st Century, it is beyond pivotal that our cybersecurity workforce be prepared for any and every challenge that might arise in the decades to come. The National Community College Cybersecurity Challenge Act stands as a key step towards reaching that necessary goal,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. "I am proud to support this bipartisan legislation that will prepare our next generation of cybersecurity professionals, provide opportunities to students across the country eager to serve their nation, and ultimately raise America’s baseline cybersecurity posture at a time when it is most needed.”

“Community colleges have always played an important role in workforce and economic development, especially by providing education and training to students who might not otherwise have access. Today they can play a role in addressing our nation’s acute shortage of cybersecurity professionals at a time when cyberthreats are only growing. Microsoft appreciates Representatives McClain and Clarke’s engagement and leadership to address this issue,” said Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft. 

“AACC is pleased to support the National Community College Cybersecurity Challenge Act. This bipartisan legislation will dramatically boost the ability of community colleges to provide the programming necessary to help address the country’s urgent need for skilled cybersecurity personnel, in which roughly one out of every three jobs is unfilled.  Cyber skills are increasingly essential for workers in an array of occupational areas and community colleges across the nation are already designated Centers of Academic Excellence in cybersecurity by the National Security Administration. This legislation will provide critical resources that will allow colleges to expand cybersecurity training and embed them across a wide variety of occupational and related programs. We look forward to working together to advance this legislation and implement it quickly to benefit both students and businesses across the United States,” said Walter G. Bumphus, Ph.D., President and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges.

“As cyber threats continue to evolve, the U.S. needs a sustainable, comprehensive approach to developing a skilled workforce to address current and future cyber risks. The National Community College Cybersecurity Challenge Act provides needed resources to community colleges across the U.S to give more Americans access to the skills necessary to address this ongoing challenge and close the cybersecurity workforce gap. We commend Representatives Lisa McClain and Yvette Clarke for their leadership on this vital issue, and we stand ready to support their measure through the legislative process,” said Jason Oxman, President and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council.

“The Cybersecurity Coalition supports developing creative solutions to address critical shortages in the cybersecurity workforce. Community colleges provide vital career pathways that expand opportunity to a more diverse pool of candidates, which will help address the continued jobs shortfall in our industry. We appreciate the leadership of Chairman Clarke and McClain for introducing the National Community College Cybersecurity Challenge Act and look forward to engaging with them as the legislation develops,” said The Cybersecurity Coalition.

“We commend Reps. McClain and Clarke for introducing the National Community College Cybersecurity Challenge ActIncreasing the pipeline of workers with cybersecurity skills is an important element of BSA’s Cybersecurity Agenda.  This legislation would broaden opportunities and expedite the development of the diverse workforce necessary to deliver on the promise of digital transformation in all sectors of the nation’s economy,” said Craig Albright, Vice President of Legislative Strategy for BSA| Software Alliance.

“One of the biggest barriers to improving cybersecurity in the United States is that there are not enough workers with the requisite skills. This legislation would catalyze the development of regional cybersecurity training programs, providing new career pathways for students and addressing the national cybersecurity workforce shortage. Passing this legislation would be an important step forward in improving U.S. cybersecurity,” said Daniel Castro, Vice President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

 “The cybersecurity workforce shortage is a national crisis that must be prioritized to protect America’s critical infrastructure against foreign adversaries, combat cybercrime at home and abroad, and win the national security competition with China in the 21st century. This legislation takes a critical step forward by expanding the cyber recruitment pool to community colleges and investing in the next generation of cyber talent that we will need to meet those challenges,” said Valerie Shen, Vice President, National Security Program of Third Way.


There are roughly 597,000 open cybersecurity positions in the United States. In 2020, 75% of community colleges did not award a single cybersecurity-related Associates degree and fewer than 3,000 individuals nationwide earned such a degree.

The National Community College Cybersecurity Challenge Act will help address this skills gap crisis by funding community colleges that institute programs tailored towards cybersecurity degrees.

Click here to read the full text of the bill.