Technology advances have allowed us to expand our horizons and create complex systems to automate the supporting fabric and functions of our daily lives. These are systems that we have come to depend on and, in some cases, take for granted. We reach for the light switch without thinking that the light might not come on. We pick up the phone and rarely ever wait for the dial tone, because it is “always” there.

For centuries, we built our businesses and industries around dependable and reliable people. However, as technology becomes more dependable and reliable, we have started to shift the mundane, tedious, and repetitive tasks from people to technology. After all, technology can do things faster, more accurately and, in many cases, much less expensively than people can. Nevertheless, with all this dependable and reliable technology around us, what happens when it suddenly, picosecond suddenly, becomes unusable, broken, or—even worse—hacked? Now that core piece of technology your company relied on is offline or renegade. With the change in operating status, you start losing money or lives within the next picosecond. What do you do?

The National Consortium for Mission Critical Operations (NCMCO) is the name of a new project being funded in round three of a U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant. The NCMCO will develop a career pathway to address demand for a mission-critical workforce able to anticipate, prevent, mitigate, and respond to mission-critical breaches.