Dulles, Va., July 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Six student members of the University of Virginia’s national-championship cybersecurity team joined Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, state delegate Kathleen Murphy, and Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services at Raytheon (NYSE: RTN), in a wide-ranging discussion Tuesday at Raytheon’s Northern Virginia campus around the state of cybersecurity in Virginia. Governor Northam highlighted the imperative to fill rapidly expanding jobs in the 21st century workforce here in Virginia—and in turn, the state’s focus on workforce development in STEAM-H (the H referring to health care) and cybersecurity.

“In order to bring Virginia back to the distinction of being the number one state in the country to do business in, we need to prepare individuals for the 21st century workforce by exposing them to the training opportunities and experiences needed to fill 21st century jobs,” said Governor Northam.

Northam referred to real-world training experiences like those that the students on the winning team--Roman Bohuk, Daniel Chen, Quintin DeGroot, Mariah Kenny, Paul Sanders and Jacob Smith—had the chance to engage in the Raytheon sponsored National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. Expanding access to these opportunities will be critical to preparing a diverse workforce for cyber leadership.

Governor Northam also revealed that Virginia has climbed from the No. 13 best state to do business in to No. 4 in just two years—but acknowledged that climb could only continue through strategic partnerships.

This discussion has national implications. More than 200,000 cybersecurity jobs in the United States are unfilled, leaving a significant gap. And eighty-four percent of employers nationwide believe less than half of cybersecurity applicants are qualified for the position. Therefore, the pipeline of future engineers must receive the trainings and experiences needed to address the skills the field requires.  

“With experiences like those offered at the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, you all are starting to be in the position to solve our most critical cyber challenges,” said Wajsgras.

Following the Governor’s remarks, Wajsgras outlined the path ahead for the field of cybersecurity, emphasizing the role for states to facilitate connections between businesses and universities—and support outreach to businesses to expose their awareness around cyber threats.

Delegate Murphy also noted current efforts underway to support this work in the Virginia House of Delegates, but acknowledged the need for input.

“In the House [of Delegates], we need to figure out what we’re able to do at a state level for challenges that we don’t even know will happen—and then need to figure out how to transfer that to legislation,” said Murphy. “There is a critical opening here and we need to ensure we’re addressing it correctly.”

The winning student team, Governor, and Delegate Murphy also received a tour of Raytheon’s cutting-edge CODE (Cyber Operations Development and Evaluation) Center, exploring the latest innovations used to fend off cyber threats and hacks—critical for an increasing number of organizations across sectors.

Even at UVA’s School of Engineering, more than 1,000 students have trained in secure coding and safe computer usage in a “Defense Against the Dark Arts” course since its inception in 2007.  Many of those students have gone on to work in the field in industry and government agencies. In fact, the school has added faculty over the past decade to accommodate the rapid expansion of computing majors.

The visit with the governor represented just one stop on a week-long NCCDC Winner’s Tour, which is sponsored by Raytheon as an opportunity for these future, leading professionals to explore the cybersecurity possibilities in military, government and business. The tour also includes stops for the UVA students at the White House, Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security and CIA.

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About UVA Engineering: As part of the top-ranked, comprehensive University of Virginia, UVA Engineering is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected engineering schools. Outstanding students and faculty from around the world choose UVA Engineering because of our growing and internationally recognized education and research programs, focused on developing interdisciplinary solutions to global challenges. Our mission is to make the world a better place by creating and disseminating knowledge and by preparing future engineering leaders. Learn more at engineering.virginia.edu.

About Raytheon: Raytheon Company, with 2017 sales of $25 billion and 64,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government, and cybersecurity solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 96 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5I™ products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. Follow us on Twitter.

Attachments

Elizabeth Thiel Mather
University of Virginia School of Engineering
434-924-1381
emather@virginia.edu

Jennifer Griffith
Raytheon
571-250-2813
Jennifer.M.Griffith@raytheon.com