New Report Lauds USM's Expansion of Cybersecurity Degree Programs; Calls for More Work-Based Learning Opportunities

Business Higher Education Forum Assess USM’s Effort to Meet Cyber Workforce Needs

Adelphi, Md. (June 7, 2018) - While the University System of Maryland (USM) has dramatically increased the production of graduates with degrees in cybersecurity to meet the region’s growing workforce needs, continued progress will require the creation of new work-based learning experiences for students.  That was the conclusion of a new report by the nation’s oldest membership organization of Fortune 500 CEOs and university presidents, the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF).

Cybersecurity is one of America’s fastest growing industries.  In 2017, 40,000 cybersecurity related jobs were posted in the Washington, D.C. metro area alone.  Eighty four percent of cybersecurity jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree and three years of relevant work experience.

“Maryland,” the report states, “is the epicenter of national cybersecurity,” and the USM’s 11 universities across the state have focused in recent years on expanding cybersecurity offerings to meet this growing workforce need.  

“The University System of Maryland has been committed to growing cybersecurity programs at universities across the state to serve the needs of students and employers in this burgeoning field,” USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret said.  “While we’re producing more graduates with cyber degrees than ever before, we can barely keep up with the mounting workforce need.  The Business-Higher Education Forum’s assessment and recommendations will guide us in better preparing a greater number of Maryland students to tackle the nation’s cybersecurity challenges and to support both economic growth and national security.”

“The University System of Maryland has made real and significant contributions in closing the cybersecurity talent gap through strategic business-higher education partnerships," said BHEF CEO Brian Fitzgerald. "As we replicate this work nationally, BHEF has scaled these successful practices from USM campuses to create more sustainable partnerships across a variety of digital skills."

“Since 2015, USM has awarded more than 10,000 bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity-related programs, and the programs continue to grow,” according the report, Building a Diverse Cybersecurity Talent Ecosystem to Address National Security Needs:  The University System of Maryland Teams with Regional Employers to Create Innovative Pathways to Jobs.

Five USM universities – the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP); University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC); University of Maryland University College (UMUC); Bowie State University (BSU); and, Towson University (TU) – are leading the way.  UMCP, for instance, partnered with Northrop Grumman in 2012 to create the Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES).  UMBC’s Cyber Scholars program was established in 2013, also with support from the Northrop Grumman Foundation.  

Ten thousand students are enrolled in UMUC’s cybersecurity programs, including more than 4,000 Marylanders.  BSU provides two bachelors programs for students focused on cybersecurity.  And TU was named a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations by the National Security Agency.

“Evidence suggests that USM’s efforts – particularly the relationships it fosters between students and local employers – are helping address the region’s shortage of cybersecurity talent,” the report states.  “Graduates of these programs are in demand for high-paying jobs, with the vast majority earning at least $70,000 in their first full-time position after college.”

Despite this progress, both throughout the USM and at universities across the nation, the report notes that 209,000 cybersecurity positions went unfilled nationally in 2015, with 71 percent of employers incurring damage from cyber-related attacks as a result.  

USM continues to grow programs to serve the needs of students and employers.  For instance, the USM’s workforce development initiative, the initial phase of which was approved by officials in Annapolis in April, will eventually support new or enhanced cybersecurity programs at six universities and regional centers, including BSU, Coppin State University (CSU), the University of Baltimore (UB), UMBC, UMCP, and UMUC.

In order to continue educating job-ready cybersecurity graduates, however, BHEF’s recommends that the USM “expand and improve student cyber work-based learning experiences.”  Because most cybersecurity jobs today require not only a college degree but at least three years of work experience, providing students with hands-on job opportunities during their degree programs is necessary to fully prepare them to compete and win and excel in current and future jobs.

The USM is already working to foster job experiences for undergraduates, most recently through the recent creation of a new cyber apprenticeship program at the UMBC Training Centers.

Learn more here about how cybersecurity programs at BSU, TU, UMBC, UMCP and UMUC and have transformed the lives of five Maryland students and graduates


The University System of Maryland (USM) is the state’s public higher education system. USM’s 12 institutions, two regional higher education centers, and system office work closely together to leverage their collective expertise and resources, share best practices, increase the system’s effectiveness and efficiency, and advance USM’s mission to improve the quality of life in Maryland. Benefiting students, as well as Maryland and its citizens, USM offers expansive access to affordable, high quality educational opportunities, performs groundbreaking research, instills a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, promotes economic growth and workforce development, provides vital services to communities and individuals, and partners with business, governmental, nonprofits, and organizations to improve quality of life.


The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) is the nation’s oldest membership organization of Fortune 500 CEOs, college and university presidents, and other leaders dedicated to the creation of a highly skilled future workforce. BHEF members collaborate and form strategic partnerships to build new undergraduate pathways; improve alignment between higher education and the workforce; and produce a diverse, highly skilled talent pool to meet demand in emerging fields.


Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 410.576.5748