The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program and participating agencies prioritize computer science (CS) education and workforce development (EdW) for all ages and abilities. They champion a diverse, inclusive, well-trained workforce capable of creating, using, and sustaining the information technology (IT) ecosystem of the future.

The NITRD program coordinates Federal CS and IT R&D program areas that range from cybersecurity (CSIA) and artificial intelligence (AI) to large-scale networking (LSN) and data (LSDMA). Almost all NITRD Program Component Areas have an EdW component; NITRD member agencies reported a total of $174.5 million in EdW R&D investments in FY2019.[1]

The newly released Federal Cybersecurity Research and Development Strategic Plan (2019) points out that there is a shortage in the United States of qualified cybersecurity workers, and the supply-demand gap is increasing in both quality (the competence required) and quantity. Addressing this gap is essential to safeguarding the national critical infrastructure and leading the world in advancement of AI and quantum information science. This will require the U.S. education and training infrastructure to prioritize inspiring, producing, and mentoring qualified CS teachers, trainers, and advanced faculty[2]. The Nation needs to make cyberspace worthy of the public’s trust by investing in an education and training ecosystem that supports the application of “systems security engineering”[3] capabilities at all proficiency levels. Cybersecurity education and workforce development, as emphasized in the 2018 Federal STEM Education 5-year plan, Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education, form a critical element for successful implementation and transition to practice of any advances in cybersecurity R&D.

Improving the quality and effectiveness of EdW training by using innovative technologies and applications is also necessary. Agency and interagency R&D activities leverage IT to improve the learning and teaching of the American technical workforce, and to prepare all Americans-with a special emphasis on women and other underrepresented groups-for an increasingly digital-reliant society. Agency EdW investments coincide with the following strategic priorities:

  • Create new educational opportunities in IT, including AI, at all educational levels in the near term
  • Design effective lifelong learning programs
  • Promote collaboration in support of a persistent and robust U.S. IT education ecosystem
  • Advance domain-specific education and training for STEM and IT [4]

The President and Congress recognize that the Nation’s security and prosperity depend on the United States leading the world in CS and IT innovations and applications. Consistent with this, NITRD and its participating agencies invest in CS and IT that will support the cutting-edge industries of the future as well as their respective missions. They champion a diverse, inclusive, well-trained workforce and computer science education for all age levels and abilities, from K–12 to post-doctorate and life-long learning.