House Bill Targets Cybersecurity Hiring Barriers
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The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill on Monday, aiming to ease educational requirements for federal cybersecurity job applicants. The Modernizing the Acquisition of Cybersecurity Experts Act (MACE Act, H.R. 4502), which had a decisive 394-1 vote, is an initiative by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.).
The bill stipulates that unless mandated by law, federal agencies can only factor in an applicant's education for cybersecurity positions if it directly correlates with job competencies. Additionally, the legislation mandates the Office of Personnel Management to release annual updates on the modifications to minimum qualifications and educational backgrounds of those occupying these roles.
This move aligns with the Biden administration's focus on strengthening cyber talent. A recent strategy unveiled in July, the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy, proposed a shift towards skills-based hiring, scholarships, and easing transitions for cyber professionals between private and public sectors.
Recent data from CyberSeek, funded by the Commerce Department, highlighted nearly 8,376 federal government cybersecurity job vacancies from May 2022 to April 2023.
In past statements, both Mace and Porter emphasized the significance of the bill in making the federal government an exemplar in cyber hiring by removing unnecessary educational barriers. The legislation now awaits Senate review.
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