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Friday Institute to Partner on $12 Million Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Partnership Grant Announced by US Department of Labor

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta speaks to a group including Gary Bertoline, dean of Purdue Polytechnic Institute, (at Acosta’s immediate left), and Geanie Umberger, executive director of the Purdue Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program (at Acosta’s immediate right), during a roundtable discussion Tuesday in Knoy Hall of Technology. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca Wilcox)

Raleigh, N.C. (July 2, 2019) — United States Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced a new four-year $12 million grant today focused on creating cybersecurity apprenticeships to help fill a growing need for cybersecurity professionals. This program, called Purdue’s Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program (P-CAP), will be led by Purdue University in partnership with North Carolina State University’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, which will direct the associated research and evaluation of the program. Dr. Carla C. Johnson, executive director of the Friday Institute and associate dean of the NC State College of Education, will serve as co-PI on the grant, which will include participants from Indiana, North Carolina and other targeted states across the U.S. FASTPORT, Purdue University Global, Rofori, MetriKs Amérique and other industry stakeholders will be partners on the project. 

“We are honored to be a part of this powerful collaborative partnership that will create outstanding opportunities and build capacity for our state as well as across the country,” Johnson said. “Our work will inform real-time, continuous improvement of the program while also learning about what works in apprenticeship programs and cybersecurity education.”

Johnson will lead the conceptualization, design and implementation of the research plan and evaluation of the progress of Purdue’s Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program (P-CAP). NC State will receive approximately $1.2 million dollars across the four-year span of the program award. 

The Friday Institute has an extensive portfolio of investigating and disseminating what works in education, including engaging in research and evaluation of state and federal policy investments in STEM education such as North Carolina’s Race to the Top program as well as Department of Defense and Department of Education initiatives. Additionally, the Friday Institute is a state and national leader in school connectivity, computer science education and delivery of professional learning opportunities for educators. The P-CAP program will provide the opportunity for potentially hundreds to thousands of North Carolina residents to be prepared to enter the cybersecurity workforce.

P-CAP aims to create 5,000 new highly-qualified personnel in cybersecurity through multiple pathways including certifications, as well as two and four-year degree programs. It will provide an opportunity for unemployed, incumbent underrepresented minorities, veterans, military spouses, transitioning service members, and underemployed workers to participate. Students will be able to participate through an online program and will receive their degrees through Purdue Global, an accredited online university with the first and only cybersecurity apprenticeship approved by the Department of Labor.

The number of jobs in the cybersecurity field is expected to grow by 37 percent between 2018 and 2022, with experts expecting there to be 1.5 to 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021, according to a 2017 Cybersecurity Ventures report. Companies face a huge hurdle in filling those positions because reports indicate that a large segment of the workforce lacks the necessary skills. This grant will help reduce this shortage.

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The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at the NC State College of Education brings together researchers, practitioners and policymakers to lead the transition to a next-generation education system that will prepare students for success in the digital-age world. It conducts research, develops educational resources, provides professional development programs for educators, advocates to improve teaching and learning, and helps inform policy-making. Visit to learn more.

Media Contact:

Heather Bronson
Senior Communications Manager