New Jersey led the nation in the total number of scholars and finalists during this year’s CyberStart America competition, according to a recent report received by the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell.
CyberStart America is a months-long, immersive cybersecurity competition intended to introduce students to the various facets of a career in cybersecurity, including code breaking, programming, networking, digital forensics and more.
Over 3,800 New Jersey students, representing 233 high schools, took part in the 2021-2022 National Cyber Scholarship Foundation and SANS Institute tournament, with 274 placing as finalists and 124 receiving cybersecurity scholarships worth more than $372,000.
NJCCIC, which helps coordinate the CyberStart America tournament within the State, is organized under New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and is comprised of personnel from NJOHSP, the New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Office of Information Technology.
“Each year, we see increased participation from around our state, largely due to our NJCCIC’s promotional efforts, as well as the support we receive from educators, mentors and parents,” said NJOHSP Director Laurie Doran. “As cyber threats continue to evolve, we aim to stoke students’ interest in this field and possibly inspire a new generation of cyber professionals – roles that are in increasingly high demand in both the private and public sectors.”
The competition’s influence is crucial at a time when the U.S. is experiencing a cybersecurity workforce deficit, with more than 700,000 vacancies reported nationwide, 16,000 of which remain unfilled in New Jersey.
“We are so proud of all the students who took on the CyberStart America challenge,” said NJOHSP Acting Deputy Director and NJCCIC Director Michael Geraghty. “As leaders, we have an obligation to not only focus on the security needs of today but to also inspire and develop the next generation’s cyber workforce. Based on the results of this year’s competition, New Jersey is well positioned to tackle the growing cyber challenges in the years ahead.”
To learn more about CyberStart America, visit www.cyberstartamerica.org.
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