Mark Ghilarducci

Some prominent names in California state government, the IT industry and academia will be featured Wednesday in a virtual conference focused on cybersecurity, education and building the future workforce.

The keynote speakers for the online event, “California Cybersecurity Industry Convening Virtual Meeting,” will be Julie Su, secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA); and Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and co-chair of the California Cybersecurity Task Force. The official notice of the meeting was issued in a letter co-signed by Ghilarducci and state Chief Information Officer Amy Tong, director of the California Department of Technology (CDT).

“To meet and address current, future, and growing state cybersecurity education and workforce development challenges, the California Cybersecurity Taskforce, Workforce Development, and Education Subcommittee invites your attendance and participation at the 2020 California Cybersecurity Industry Convening Virtual Meeting,” Ghilarducci and Tong’s letter says. “The purpose of this meeting is to discuss statewide education and workforce development strategies to prepare 50,000 California cyber professionals between now and 2030 for entry-level employment in critical ‘high demand’ industry sectors.”

Dr. Keith Clement, a professor at Cal State Fresno and chairman of the California Cybersecurity Taskforce, Workforce Development, and Education Subcommittee, told Techwire in an interview that one of the goals is to create a “model curriculum” for California students interested in a career in technology and/or cybersecurity. Such a curriculum would be a road map to guide students through middle and high school, and then into paid professional apprenticeships. For some, those apprenticeships would begin in high school and could lead to a job; for others, an apprenticeship would augment their college or university experience as they prepare to enter the IT workforce.

The virtual meeting has backing and participation from some important state government departments, including the California Government Operations Agency (GovOps), CalOES, CDT, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), the Governor’s Office of Business and Development (GO-Biz), LWDA, the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB), the California Department of Industrial Relations, and the Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS).

The conference agenda begins with presentations on education from, in addition to Clement, David Rusting, chief information security officer for the Office of the President of the University of California. Another presenter will be Shamla Naidoo, CISO for IBM Global.

After the education session, a panel discussion focused on the workforce will be moderated by Brenda Bridges Cruz, deputy director of CDT’s Office of Professional Development. Panelists will include Julie Whitten, GovOps’ assistant deputy secretary of Innovation and Accountability; Isabel Guzman, director of GO-Biz’s Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA); Stephen Dodd, IBM Certified Project Executive with IBM Public Partnerships; Peter Liebert, commander of California State Guard Cyber Operations and CISO for Cerner Government Services; and Nick Curry, senior program manager for Amazon Web Services’ AWS Military Initiatives.

Wednesday's event is free and runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon; more details and registration information are available online.