The bill (AB 848) was introduced in February by Assembly member Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento).  The Assembly this month voted 59 to 19, to approve it. The Senate vote was 33 to 6.

The legislation awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, and the vote margin makes that likely.

In September 2016, UC at San Francisco disclosed it had entered into a $50 million, five-year contract with India-based IT services firm HCL. The university said it expected $30 million in savings over this period.

The contract resulted in the loss of 49 IT career position and the elimination of 48 other positions that were either vacant or filled by contracted staff.

The legislation has potential loopholes. It doesn’t bar offshoring of work, just the displacement of university workers. A Senate amendment said that if the work is performed outside of the U.S., the universities “shall not, for the duration of the contract, displace an employee performing that specific work.”

Lawmakers approved the legislation knowing it might increase costs. CSU told lawmakers that it could “see higher bids in the range of 10% to 30% by contractors who wish to cover their increased risk.”

The cuts at UCSF amounted to a 17% reduction in staffing, according to the legislative analysis. “The same 17% loss ratio across UC’s 10 campuses and five medical centers could result in a total of 613 lost positions. UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, and UC San Diego could each lose over 100 career IT positions,” it said.

This legislation had broad goals.

Its sponsors pointed out that contractors and subcontractors “are using taxpayer dollars to create jobs in foreign countries. State taxpayer funds should be used to create jobs in the United States and California.”

A lawsuit was filed in California Superior Court by 13 of the affected UCSF IT employees alleging race, age and sex discrimination.

Their attorney, Gary Gwilliam in Oakland, said they were glad to see the outsourcing legislation win approval. “Our clients to a person strongly felt that this was wrong and they did not want the university to go out and do this in other cases,” said Gwilliam, in an interview.

Randall Strauss, an attorney who is working with Gwilliam on this case, said, “I think California should be angry that it took a bill to have the university not take away California jobs,” he said.

Patrick Thibodeau is a reporter covering enterprise technologies, including supercomputing, workplace trends and globalization. His work on outsourcing and H-1B visa issues has been widely cited, read on the floor of the U.S Senate, and has received national awards for … View Full Bio

Richard Grotegut, Bay Area Deputy Sector Navigator for IT and Computer Science, was the driving force behind the camps and secured funding for the initiative from a Strong Workforce Program Regional Joint Venture. The camps are one part of California’s commitment to cybersecurity education and workforce development.

Making It Happen

The impetus for starting cyber camps in the Bay Area came after seeing success that teams from Southern California had in cyber competitions. Grotegut likened the cyber competition world to a sports league and hopes that schools in his region will progress to the next level.

“Sports teams compete pretty regularly and can go to regional championships or go to states,” Grotegut said. “We want to do that for this skill for kids who compete this way using their brains.” “It was time for the Bay Area (home of Silicon Valley) to form teams and compete.”

Grotegut supports all 28 community colleges in the Bay Area Community College Consortium. He visited each college last spring to pitch the idea of a cyber camp.

Most of the funding was provided through the Regional Joint Venture Fund. Colleges were only responsible for food and facility costs, and a faculty stipend if applicable. The $8500 provided by the Regional Joint Venture made the camps feasible for colleges that had the resources to host and plan them, Grotegut said.

Once the colleges were in place, Grotegut needed to find people to teach camp. He utilized his involvement with the Western Academy Support and Training Center to connect with instructors and establish a train the trainer program.

Train the trainer sessions were held June 19-23 at Cabrillo College and included instruction in the CyberPatriot curriculum. Several of the WASTC instructors had taught Cisco academy and other programs, so they had the fundamentals needed to quickly come up to speed on CyberPatriot.

Those instructors also had the chance to add a new skill to their resumes and, in some cases, travel to a different part of the state.

“It was an interesting way to do professional development and keep cost down,” Grotegut said.

Grotegut and his team further assisted colleges by creating promotional flyers, managing registration, providing copies of the student workbooks, and purchasing T-shirts for camp participants. This work ensured a consistent experience for students across the region.

College Perspectives

Participating colleges were eager to get on board with the initiative once they learned what CyberPatriot was and what it could offer their students.

“What drew me to camp was the ability to gamify learning about cybersecurity,” said Richard Wu, an Instructor in the Computer Networking And Information Technology Department at City College of San Francisco. “Trying to learn these concepts from a book can be pretty dry so having this competition format is much more engaging.”

This initiative is also a key part of the cybersecurity pathway from middle and high schools to community colleges. Many colleges already have or are in the process of creating degree programs specifically focused on cybersecurity.

“We are very interested in creating a pathway for students who might want to pursue cybersecurity as a profession, and we are doing our best to establish strong working relationships with the high school computer science teachers, said Bryce Martens, a Computer Information Science Instructor at College of San Mateo. “The camp really helped in both areas.”

Grotegut said the College of Marin and De Anza college are interested in coming on board for next year, which would mean half of the BACCC schools are part of the cyber camp initiative.

Overcoming Obstacles

One challenge the colleges faced was a high no-show rates at a number of the camps. They suspect this is due to the fact that the camps were free and that, in some cases, registration occurred well in advance.

“We contacted the students right way and heard the same excuses: they forgot about it, they scheduled something else at the same time, they didn’t have any transportation, their parents didn’t know about it,” Martens said.

To prevent this from happening again next year, Martens suggested collecting parent contact information on the registration form so reminders could be sent to them as a way of confirming their students’ participation closer to the date of the camp.

Other suggestions for next year include expanding high school networks and hiring additional staff to supervise camper pick up and drop off each day.

Despite those challenges, students who attended the camps benefitted from the experience. The skills they learned will make them better technology consumers, even if they never work as cybersecurity professionals.

“Students were exposed to cybersecurity issues in the college environment. Students developed real skills that they took home and some of them applied what they learned at home,” said Gerlinde Brady, Dean of CTE and Workforce Development at Cabrillo College.

Martens heard positive feedback from the attendees and their parents after the camp ended.

“She [a participant’s mother] told me how much her son enjoyed the class and told her all about it every day on the drive home, and said he was now considering cybersecurity as a college major,” Martens said. “She wanted to make sure we tell her and her son about any other classes and camps in the future.”

Next Steps

Grotegut hopes the camps will serve as a catalyst for continued cyber security instruction in the region. The goal is to have teams participating regional or statewide competitions and pursuing cybersecurity degrees at community colleges.

Statewide competitions will be held in January and February, and the national finals will be held in Baltimore in April. Grotegut is working with colleges to host practice rounds throughout the fall — an extension of the partnership started over the summer with the cyber camps.

Grotegut also plans to add an advanced track to next summer’s camps to accommodate students who participated this, or those who already have some background in computer programming and networking.

Plans are also in the works to create a one-credit course that community college students could take to learn the CyberPatriot curriculum. Colleges could collect enrollment revenue from this course with little additional effort required to prepare course materials.

Colleges are eager to come along in these efforts. Wu said he had not heard of CyberPatriot before Grotegut’s presentation, but now that he does, he is committed to ensuring that it succeeds.

“Silicon Valley is right here so it makes sense for us to be doing these types of activities,” Wu said. “The Bay Area is definitely more awake now. Look for us to be right alongside southern California in a few years.”

Students presented to the Assembly and Senate and took questions from members on how they became interested in cybersecurity, how their knowledge in the field will impact their future careers, and how state legislators can help cybersecurity education reach more students.

The day at the Capitol also included meetings with individual Senators and Assembly Members and with GO-Biz leadership, including Deputy Director for Legislative Affairs, Maricela Gomez, the state’s Small Business Advocate, Jesse Torres and External Affairs Deputy Director Sid Voorakkara, the California Department of Technology Director Amy Tong and California Polytechnic University Cybersecurity Center Director Bill Britton.

Donna Woods of the California Statewide CyberPatriot Program traveled with the students and said she was impressed by the poise and maturity they showed throughout the day.

“I am thrilled and proud of how they served as ambassadors,” Woods said. “It was a great opportunity for them to validate their learning and share their experiences regarding everything they are doing related to cybersecurity.”

Woods serves as Community Manager for the California Cyberhub, which works with government, industry and academia to promote access to cybertraining and cyber competition for students across California. The Cyberhub serves as a neutral one-stop source for best practices, cross institution collaboration and support for those wishing to participate in California’s cyber training efforts.

The trip to the Capitol was funded by the CyberCalifornia coalition, a collection of businesses, state agencies, and educational partners dedicated to reinforcing California’s leadership position in cybersecurity, along with GO-Biz and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The trip was coordinated in partnership with Assembly Members Ed Chau, Jacqui Irwin, and Sharon Quirk-Silva.

GO-BIZ Deputy Director of External Affairs Sid Voorakkara said the organization is fully committed to initiatives that will position California as a cybersecurity leader.
“For California to continue to lead the economy in the innovation sector, we know that cyber and cybersecurity will be front and center in everything from agriculture to autonomous vehicles and digital health,” Voorkkara said.
The Aug. 21 legislative visit continued the momentum generated by the Cyber Innovation Challenge, held June 23-25 at the California Cyber Training Complex in San Luis Obispo. That event brought 16 teams of students together to demonstrate their expertise in cybersecurity, while encouraging students to explore new career pathways in the field.

These efforts will continue with the State of California Cybersecurity Education Summit on Oct. 10. The summit will bring together business leaders, government officials and academics to discuss expanding access to cybersecurity education so California can stay ahead of cyber threats.

About GO-Biz

GO-Biz serves as the State of California’s leader in job growth and economic development efforts. GO-Biz offers a range of services to business owners including: attraction, retention and expansion services, site selection, permit streamlining, clearing of regulatory hurdles, small business assistance, international trade development, assistance with state government, and more.

About CyberCalifornia

CyberCalifornia is a cybersecurity initiative focused on educating California businesses about cybersecurity needs and resources, and connecting California’s robust workforce development system with the needs of California employers. CyberCalifornia is organized in conjunction with the Innovation Hub (iHub) Network, a program administered by GO-Biz.

About California Cyberhub

The California Cyberhub is a virtual, neutral, nimble on-line organization that is a collaboration of public higher education, K-12, government, business and military working to enable a future workforce of ethical cybersecurity experts in California.

About Cyberpatriots

CyberPatriot the National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association (AFA) to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future.

Jose Medina Donna Woods Kassandra Morin

Jose Medina, Chair of Higher Education Committee, California & Assemblymember for 61st Assembly District, (L) Donna Woods, (R) Kassandra Morin.

Jacqui Irwin Darlene Tarin Leah Alvarez Kassandra Morin

Jacqui Irwin, Chair of the Select Committee on Cybersecurity, California & Assemblymember for the 44th Assembly District. Next to Jacqui (L to R) Darlene Tarin, Leah Alvarez, Kassandra Morin.

Scott Young
California Cyberhub
[email protected]