BHEF Joined by the Office of Naval Research, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, and Parsons Corporation to Expand its Cyber Network Throughout the Greater Washington D.C. Region

ONR awards BHEF $1M Grant to BHEF for New Undergraduate Cyber Programs in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Area

Washington, D.C. (June 20) — Today, at its June member meeting, BHEF announced partnerships with the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Parsons Corporation to support and expand undergraduate cybersecurity programs, a focus area of BHEF’s National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative (HEWI).

The Greater Washington Cyber Network is an extension of the BHEF’s work with the University System of Maryland (USM). In 2012, BHEF members Northrop Grumman Corporation and USM launched the Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students and Cyber Scholars programs, at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, respectively. Their successes led to the USM-BHEF Undergraduate Cybersecurity Network and the National Cybersecurity Network, each a coalition of representatives from higher education, business, and government that addresses regional and national needs for cybersecurity talent.

Parsons and the Greater Washington Board of Trade also announced commitments to BHEF’s groundbreaking cybersecurity expansion efforts. They will support a new BHEF-led undergraduate cyber leadership program to train and inspire regional leaders in the field, as students from diverse backgrounds form teams and participate in summer internships with companies across sectors in the Washington metropolitan area.

BHEF Chair Barbara R. Snyder, president of Case Western Reserve University, said the expansion marks a significant milestone for BHEF. “I applaud Accenture, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, ONR, and Parsons. As the National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative reaches new regions, more Fortune 500 companies and leading industry associations are joining us. Cybersecurity is only one component. BHEF’s members are actively engaged in work that will benefit advanced manufacturing, financial services, and health care in key fields such as data science and mobile technologies.”  

For the U.S. Navy, cybersecurity is the new frontier of national defense.  

"The U.S. Navy recognizes that cybersecurity is an essential component of national security," said Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder. "As the Office of Naval Research moves forward in partnerships with industry, academia and our fellow service members on this vital front, supporting efforts like this innovative BHEF initiative will help us to grow the talent pipeline for this critical field. Students will find enormous professional opportunities awaiting them, and our Navy and nation will benefit."

BHEF’s cyber efforts were bolstered by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and member company Accenture. In 2013, BHEF was one of six organizations selected and funded by the Gates Foundation to develop a business plan focused on new academic and career pathways for students with industry-approved credentials. With Accenture, BHEF built a consortium of companies, universities, and other stakeholders. The consortium will build new undergraduate cyber programs that connect two- and four-year colleges and universities, and open doors to cyber careers for more students than ever before.  

BHEF CEO Brian Fitzgerald stated: “These are exciting developments. Over the past two years, BHEF’s work in cybersecurity proves it is possible to scale innovation at a rapid pace, align curriculum with workforce needs, and create opportunities for students to transition from college to successful careers. This pace hinges on the genuine commitment, expertise, and aligned investment of resources by motivated stakeholders. We thank the U.S. Navy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Accenture, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, and Parsons for partnering with BHEF in this expansion and look forward to compelling results.”  

Read the press release from Parsons on its website.

About the Business-Higher Education Forum
Now in its 36th year, BHEF is the nation's oldest membership organization of Fortune 500 CEOs, prominent college and university presidents, and other leaders dedicated to advancing innovative education and workforce solutions and improving U.S. competitiveness. BHEF's business and academic members collaborate in regions across the country to design and deploy education-workforce solutions in the high-demand and emerging fields that are so critical to innovation and national security. BHEF and its members drive change locally, work to influence public policy at the national and state levels, and inspire other leaders to act.