ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County’s Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) has been named a finalist by the U.S. Economic Development Administration in its $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. As a finalist, the Authority received a $500,000 grant to support its Maryland Cyber Workforce Solutions proposal to expand access to the cybersecurity industry and build a robust pipeline to fill the more than 19,000 job openings in the field. HCEDA is one of 60 finalists selected nationally, and the only proposal in Maryland selected that will advance to Phase 2 of the challenge for up to $100 million in funding.
Howard County and our greater region has a well-established reputation as a cybersecurity hub, and this proposal is vital to building our workforce and pipeline to cement central Maryland as a leader in cyber. We’re ecstatic to have the Maryland Cyber Workforce Solutions selected as a finalist and are confident that our strategy for regional growth and infrastructure will be transformative for our community.
In a region that is rich in data and defense companies of all sizes, HCEDA’s proposal plans to leverage industry demands and aligns the resources of the cybersecurity community to drive economic prosperity and employment opportunities for regional residents, employers, entrepreneurs, and jobseekers.
HCEDA is the lead for the proposal, with a steering committee of regional cybersecurity leaders. Participating jurisdictions include Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Charles County, Harford County, Howard County, Frederick County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County.
“Cybersecurity is a major industry in our region and the mission of ensuring there is a robust workforce to support it is critical,” said Lawrence Twele, CEO of HCEDA. “We look forward to working with partners from across the region to develop the concept of the proposal into a sustainable program that can offer solutions and opportunities for both businesses and residents in the state”.
“I am very proud of the focus towards addressing the cybersecurity workforce challenge,” said Cyndi Gula, Managing Partner Gula Tech Adventures and HCEDA Board Chair. “The region is well positioned to lead the nation in this effort and the HCEDA will prove a powerful advocate in enabling more people to join this exciting career field.”
I am delighted that the EDA team, including the ICF, UMGC, and industry leaders, has received Phase 1 grant funding for their Cyber Workforce Solutions program. We are the nation's cybersecurity capital, and I'm proud to have been a part of this effort to put the principles of the Blueprint into action by developing a more diverse, high-quality cyber workforce, and ensuring that a student's ZIP code doesn't determine their future or access to technical education. I look forward to utilizing this world-class, statewide training consortium as a model to fill Maryland's 20,000 available cyber jobs.
In Phase 1, the Economic Development Administration received concept proposals from 529 communities across the country representing all 50 states and 5 territories. For Phase 2, finalists will compete for up to $100 million to implement their proposals, identifying how the funding will help position our region for long-term economic resiliency and growth.