California: Building A Supply Chain For Cyber Skills

A cybersecurity labor market survey reveals an alarming gap between the number of job openings and the number of qualified applicants to fill these positions in California.

By the BF Staff
From the September/October 2018 Issue

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), released in August the results of a California Cybersecurity Labor Market Analysis and Statewide Survey. This document details the findings of a study done by the California Community Colleges Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research to determine if the Golden State is ready to meet the workforce needs of the burgeoning cybersecurity industry and other emerging high-tech growth sectors.

The study’s primary conclusion: there is much work to be done in order to adequately prepare Californians for the demands of the digital and cyber economy.

Conducted as part of the California Advanced Supply Chain Analysis & Diversification Effort (CASCADE) initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, the study gathered information about workforce needs in California and the scope of training being provided by educational providers across the state. It found an alarming gap in the supply of qualified cybersecurity workers prepared to fill the 35,000 cybersecurity-related annual job openings that exist in California.

“The Cybersecurity Labor Market Analysis is a major step forward in understanding the significant gap between the demand for cybersecurity-related occupations and number of qualified candidates in the state,” said GO-Biz Director Panorea Avdis. “As California’s companies rely more on digital technologies, addressing this labor shortfall becomes more urgent. We look forward to working with public and private partners to identify and implement solutions that support California businesses.”

In order to complete this analysis, a statewide survey of 385 businesses was conducted to collect data for nine of the most common cybersecurity occupations, using the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. This included roles such as Systems Security Analyst, Cyber Defense Analyst, Vulnerability Assessment Analyst, Cyber Defense Forensics Analyst, and Software Developer, among others. Additionally, as part of the study, primary and secondary data was collected on public and private postsecondary institutions offering cybersecurity related programs.

Based on employer responses, strong cybersecurity employment growth is expected over the next 12 months, ranging from 4 percent to 21 percent for the work roles studied, representing an increase of about 14,300 positions. In 2016, the most recent year of available data, 242 accredited postsecondary institutions in California offered 1,177 programs that were related to cybersecurity. However, only 3,200 awards were conferred by programs that focused directly on cybersecurity or clearly included aspects of cybersecurity in their curriculum. The study concludes that California’s educational institutions are not currently supplying enough qualified candidates to fill the thousands of cybersecurity job openings that exist.

Eileen Sanchez, CASCADE Program Manager said, “These numbers show a real opportunity to train individuals into high growth occupations. Knowing what occupations and skills are most important is a key factor in re-training defense workers and getting them to adapt to national security priorities and the changing skills requirements of jobs in our economy here in California.

Here are some key findings:

  • For all nine work roles, 60 percent or more of employers reported some or great difficulty finding qualified candidates with the required technology skills.
  • For all nine work roles, 75 percent or more of defense contractors reported that security certifications are important or very important when hiring.
  • For each of four IT/IS work roles, a majority of employers indicated that employees spend more than a quarter of their time on security/cybersecurity issues, a percentage that is increasing.
  • The majority (72 percent) of cybersecurity-related programs are offered by public two-year and public four-year colleges, In a survey of postsecondary institutions with cybersecurity related programs, nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated they offered programs that align with the “Operate and Maintain” category in the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework.


Why Irvine, CA? Sometimes the address says it all.

Everyone knows that there are certainly less expensive places to start or locate a business—any city in North Dakota or Alabama for starters—but there isn’t a smarter or better place to start or locate a business than Irvine, California. And it all began with the stunningly forward-thinking vision that transformed 93,000 acres into an economic powerhouse and one of the most livable cities in the United States.

California cybersecurity
(Credit: Greater Irvine Chamber)

The Irvine family took a long view of this land and its place in the evolution of the area. They adopted a powerful proposition that the land, and all those who would live and work on it, would be best served by a Master Plan that fostered the highest quality of life through preservation of “nonrenewable” assets and resources. They conceived of artfully designed neighborhoods and villages, acres of open space and livable neighborhood centers and regional centers that would support a high quality of life and serve as an economic powerhouse for Fortune 500 companies and robust, cutting edge industry sectors in the Life Sciences, Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology and Digital Arts & Media just to name the top performers.

Why Irvine? Because the connection between people, their environment, livability and economic well-being was a guiding principle.

The Master Plan approached every development detail with the precision of a neurosurgeon. The planners integrated their plan with the existing freeways and developed six lane arterials to increase mobility and accessibility. Infrastructure and supporting systems were designed to anticipate growth. Recognizing the efficiency, convenience and environmental advantages of proximity to work centers, commercial developments were strategically located close to villages. Unique residential villages were surrounded by open areas, recreational amenities and thousands of acres of preserved land.

More than 50,000 acres of the original 93,000 acres have been preserved for parks, trails and natural open space. The Irvine Company understood the value of balance in the sustainability equation. And the federal government and the State if California agreed when they assigned National Landmark status to this acreage recognizing its ecological diversity and environmental significance.

Spectacular office buildings rose in the Irvine Business Corridor. Beautifully manicured office parks attracted global companies. Edwards Life Sciences, Broadcom, Western Digital and Allergan were born here. And world-class lifestyle, retail and entertainment complexes like the Irvine Spectrum served as a magnet for yet another business corridor fueling innovation and technology development.

Why Irvine? Because education is essential to talent development, attraction and retention.

Education, considered essential to a sustainable community, was and still is, a priority. Nearly every village in Irvine has a school in its footprint. And with the addition of a now nationally recognized university, the University of California at Irvine 50 years ago, UCI, with its well-earned reputation for research and development and attracting a global student body, would grow side-by-side with the new City of Irvine. Rooted in Irvine’s premier K-12 educational system and its fifteen university and college campuses within its boundaries, Irvine can claim an enviable 96 percent high school graduation rate and 69 percent advance degree rate that fuels a robust talent pipeline.

Innovation and the next big idea have been nurtured here for decades. UCI’s Applied Innovation promises to greatly enhance an already strong innovation eco-system of hubs, collaborative work spaces, mentoring, capital, incubators and accelerators like OCTANe, EvoNexus and more keeps Irvine on the leading edge of the 21st century.


Why Irvine? Because sustainability is a core value not an option.

We are surrounded by rolling hills, city blocks of green space, sumptuous office park environments, fountains and parks sustained with award-winning water reclamation systems, sparkling, well maintained Energy Star or LEED certified office buildings, wide, beautifully manicured boulevards and thoroughfares built to manage and ease traffic congestion and reduce emissions, and clean and safe streets, office centers and neighborhoods.

It takes everyone working together to be named Safest City in America (population over 100,000) since 2005 and America’s Best Run City. And Irvine is always in the Top Five for Best City for families, Best City to raise children and Best City for young adults.

Why Irvine? Because we all respect and cultivate the assets and resources that contribute to success.

It was that original Irvine Company vision and values of responsible development, preservation of open and green space, appreciation for scale and preparation for growth that make the City of Irvine unique. It is the City’s leadership and ongoing commitment to that vision that fuels the economic powerhouse capable of offering and sustaining the highest quality of life and a fertile business environment. And it is the Greater Irvine Chamber’s Irvine Ready! program—and its 80 plus support experts—that empowers companies to grow here, relocate or expand here fearlessly.

This compelling combination is what attracts and retains global companies, top CEOs, dreamers and entrepreneurs, start-ups and growth companies, the best and most highly skilled talent and foreign and domestic investment.

Our business community makes us stronger. Our public/private partnerships empower us. Our diversity energizes us. Our quality of life inspires us. Our commitment to innovation in all things distinguishes us. And helping business grow motivates us.

That’s what makes Irvine extraordinary.


Many people have heard of Northern California. Well, we are North of Northern California and we are “North of Expected.” We are Upstate California!

We are a different place, with different people, full of opportunities for companies and talented, hardworking people to join our wonderful community. If you are looking to establish a beach head in a community that will be supportive and committed to your success, the communities in Shasta County should be on your radar.

Northern California is sometimes used to group a very large portion of the State, from the Monterey area all the way up to Oregon. This area includes many well-known cities such as Santa Cruz, San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento. Although these are wonderful places, they are, in many ways, very different than our part of the State, Upstate California.

Our area is located North of Sacramento and extends to the Oregon border, it would be similar to Upstate New York. We are a more rural community, with smaller cities. We are home to many manufacturers and technology startups. Our people are hard-working, committed employees and citizens. Our cost of living and doing business is far below that of the rest of “Northern California” and the LA Basin. Lower wages, energy costs, water costs, land prices, and home prices! Our costs are low as much as 40-60 percent below many other places in California.

We are more like the California of 50 Years ago in terms of community, a place where business is welcomed with open arms and a cost structure providing a platform for success. However, we still offer affordable accessibility to the large markets in California and throughout the Western US, able to reach 50 million end-users within 24 hours.

Many people, with great talent and experience, in electronics, solar, semiconductors, engineering and manufacturing disciplines have come here to take advantage of our lower cost of living and extremely high quality of life. We are family oriented and offer wonderful amenities to support an outdoor lifestyle with camping, fishing, hiking, biking, skiing, water sports, and other extreme adventures of all types available in minutes.

Within one hour, the possibilities for recreation are countless. Our commutes are typically much shorter. The average commute is 23 minutes, but only because many of our citizens want to live in our more rural surrounding areas. Wide open spaces without hours of commuting are enjoyed by many. Our workers experience a better work/life balance, and are therefore more productive than in many other communities, in California and in other states. This has been confirmed by our manufacturers with plants in multiple states.

Some of the industries which have clustered here include food processers, logging, lumber mills, and other secondary forest products companies, aircraft maintenance/service/accessory providers, custom metal fabricators, recreational product manufacturers, and concrete casters. We have companies in the restaurant ventilation fabrication business; custom industrial hoses, piping and connectors; architectural and structural metals, an electronic microscope maker, high volume insulation manufacturing, and many technical startups in both cloud applications and “widget” development and production.

We have a hardworking citizenry. They are very productive at work, but also in our community. Our rates of participation in service-oriented organizations are very high on a per capita basis in organizations such as Rotary International, Lions Clubs, and many others. We have a very engaged millennial citizenry with groups such as 20-30s Club, Catalyst and many others. People love to live here and invest in the community.

After our work day is done, we like to play. Shasta County is an “Outdoor Playground.” We are home to a biking, hiking, and walking trail system of over 160 miles, with many of those miles along the Sacramento River or overlooking Shasta Lake, the largest lake in California. We are one of the top 5 sunniest places in the US. Some say, we are number 2! We have a 14,000 ft. peak one hour to our North that is included in the list of the “Best 30 Places to Ski in the World.” Shasta Lake offers houseboating, water skiing, and fishing. Shasta County and the surrounding areas include some of the world’s most sought-after fly-fishing destinations. All around us are beautiful rivers, lakes, mountains, and streams. If you can’t relax here, you can’t relax anywhere. Recently, we were rated the No. 2 place in the US for a “Staycation.” In other words, if you live in Shasta County why would you travel anywhere on vacation, because there is so much to enjoy right here!

Come visit us—we have over 3 million visitors a year! Come talk to us, we are open to finding affinities for your business, both customer and supply chain partnerships! Our local governments and existing business will support your success. Statistics show that Shasta County businesses are on average 11 percent more profitable than other businesses in California. We believe that comes for our closeness and collaboration. We know that our community is stronger when we work together. That doesn’t mean that we don’t compete, but it does mean that we do it ethically and wherever there are opportunities to support each other, we search them out.

Call the Shasta EDC at (530) 224-4920 and ask for Tony Giovaniello or e-mail him at You can also find us on the web at or on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter by searching “Shasta EDC.”

Remember, we are “North of Expected!”