Jan 22

Gov. Reynolds announces new cyber training partnership for young women

DES MOINES – Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a new cyber training partnership between the SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network and Security) Institute and the State of Iowa to inspire the next generation of female cybersecurity professionals.

“I am excited that Iowa, in conjunction with the SANS Institute, is offering this program,” Gov. Reynolds said. “It provides opportunities for growth – both for our state’s young women and for STEM in our state.”

GirlsGoCyberStart is a free online game of discovery that offers young women in grades 9-12 the opportunity to learn basic cybersecurity skills and test their cyber aptitude. Participants do not need any prior cybersecurity knowledge or IT experience. The only requirements are a computer and an internet connection.

Iowa’s students will be competing against students from 16 other states and territories including: American Samoa, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

“This is a great opportunity for a public-private partnership that can provide young women in our state the technical skills they need to be successful in information technology and cybersecurity,” Iowa’s Chief Information Officer Robert von Wolffradt said.

“The nation desperately needs more highly-skilled cyber professionals,” SANS Institute Director of Research Alan Paller said. “And we have new evidence that CyberStart radically improves the preparation and quality of those entering the cybersecurity field. Women are underrepresented in the technical side of cybersecurity, but by opening CyberStart to tens of thousands of young women in high school, we may be able to help the nation identify the next generation of female talent to excel in this critical field.”

Registration will begin on Jan. 29 and run through Feb. 16. The first 10,000 young women in high school to register may play the game online from February 20-25, 2018.

Prizes will be awarded. They include computers and a trip to the 2018 Women in CyberSecurity Conference in Chicago. Additionally, the three schools in Iowa with the most participants will win awards of $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000.

For more information, visit https://girlsgocyberstart.com/.

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