This bill seeks to enhance U.S. cyber security by increasing Americans’ computer literacy on a number of fronts.
Essentially, the bill lays out a plan of action for the Office of Cybersecurity and Awareness Branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The bill tasks the office with:
- Recruiting cybersecurity workers for DHS;
- Supporting science, technology, and computer safety education for K-12 students, creating training programs in colleges, and boosting public knowledge;
- Improving access to technology programs at institutions of higher education that serve large percentages of people of color, and rural colleges and universities;
- Filing a report on ways to increase the presence of ethnic minorities in cybersecurity.
This bill comes with a number of specific policy plans aimed at promoting tech education, including:
- A grant program for science and technology education to schools in low-income and rural areas;
- The "K–12 Science and Technology Learning Program", which would provide curriculum, teacher training, and grants for technology education training;
- A matching program for after-school tech education programs;
- DHS grants for colleges and universities to buy computer equipment and information security programs;
- A mentorship program to pair undergrads and information security professionals;
- A fellowship program where state and local officials can learn from national cybersecurity professionals.
There’s an informational component to the bill, as well. It creates a Board of Advisors for K-12 tech education that would issue quarterly reports on their findings. A working group would also be created to study information technology education in colleges and universities, and another to ensure that colleges and universities are adequately equipped. The bill also tasks the National Science Foundation with studying the high drop-out rate for women and minorities in science, technology, engineering and math programs.