Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is encouraging young women in Michigan to explore their aptitude for cybersecurity and computer science by participating in the 2019 Girls Go CyberStart competition.
Whitmer said demand for skilled candidates in cybersecurity is outpacing the current supply. In addition, a wide gender gap exists in the workplace, where only 11 percent of cybersecurity professionals are women.
“Michigan has long been a leader in innovation that changes the world,” Whitmer said. “To maintain our leadership and meet tomorrow’s challenges requires us to develop a skilled cybersecurity workforce that can help protect our state’s and the nation’s most critical assets.
“We’re excited to partner with SANS and offer this opportunity for high school girls to discover and foster a passion for innovation and cybersecurity,” she added.
Participants will use the CyberStart Game, an online series of challenges that allow students to act as cyber-protection agents and solve cybersecurity-related puzzles. Students also will explore exciting, relevant topics such as cryptography and digital forensics.
Whitmer said Michigan high schools where at least five girls in the Girls Go CyberStart program succeed in six or more of the challenges will win access to the CyberStart Game for their entire school, expanding the competition to both male and female students for the remainder of the school year. Students will have the opportunity to win cash prizes for their schools and themselves.
Participating students and teachers do not need to have knowledge or experience in information technology or cybersecurity to participate in the free program. All that is required is a computer and internet connection. Registration is now open until games begin March 20 at girlsgocyberstart.org.
The 2018 program provided the opportunity for 6,650 young women in 16 states to discover and demonstrate their aptitude for cybersecurity.