Skip to main content


Responding to some alarming statistics that the number of unfilled cybersecurity positions is estimated to surpass two million in 2019, KP Scholars’ CEO and UMUC Cybersecurity Adjunct Professor, Jim Smith has established a new workforce development program to meet the burgeoning gap.   “Our local school systems are the largest suppliers of talent and if we are to meet the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals we must recognize that the talent pipeline begins in K12.” As a talent development agency, KP Scholars continues its long standing commitment to partner with LEAs throughout this country to support their mission of college and career ready youth.

KP Scholars is set to launch a small but scalable program in 2019 in Washington, DC and Prince George’s County Maryland.  Jim Smith continues, “Our pilot program will create a pipeline of trained professionals, capable of earning a salary in excess of $100K annually—nearly three times the national median income for salaried workers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”   With the Cybersecurity labor shortage projected to hit 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021, KP Scholars is focused on developing a national cybersecurity talent portfolio in partnership with LEAs and industry partners to dramatically increase both the supply and quality of talent available to local employers. 

KP Scholars wants to proceed deliberately says Dr Laurence Peters, former US Department of Education Senior Policy Advisor and KP’s Partnership Advisor, “The KP Scholars cybersecurity program has the potential to scale nationally as the program partners with both industry, schools and higher education”.  KP Scholars sees its role, adds Peters, as “bringing these sectors together around a local and national need”.  The organization is partnering with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) and will be leveraging the NICE Cybersecurity Framework to define the skills employers are seeking.  The initial pilot program will launch in 2019 with 25 11th grade students in the District of Columbia / Prince George’s County and five college juniors (paid apprentices) that will compete in the CyberPatriots ( competition throughout the school year.  The K12 and college students will all be placed with employers during the summer funded WIOA legislation.  

Dr. Rudy Watson, Program Chair for Project Management and Professor in the Cybersecurity Program at UMUC, will provide oversite for program execution and performance outcomes.  Dr. Watson adds, “Each student will be provided with multiple mentors to guide their academic, social and professional development throughout the duration of the program.  The program will operate as an afterschool program that meets 2-3 days per week and is designed to support all participants through their expected graduation in June 2020.   The key performance indicator of our success is job placement.” 

If your high school is interested in being considered as a host site for the pilot or future expansion, please contact Jim Smith at


Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.