SYP Event Keynote Speakers

Bobby F. Keener,
Jr, Chief Executive Officer, CivilianCyber

Title: Enabling Business, Helping People: Workforce Development for the Digital Age


The workforce gap for high-demand technology jobs continues to grow. A pre-pandemic IMF report expected a global shortage of more than 85 million tech workers by 2030 which would equate to $8.5 trillion in lost annual revenue. With the post-pandemic acceleration of both current and next generation technologies, this shortage will only continue to grow with McKinsey recently reporting that there are already only sixty-five potential applicants for every one-hundred new technology job openings. In parallel to this growing talent shortage, there are existing talent pools that offer great potential but that are going untapped. These range from veterans, persons with disabilities, and persons already working in related fields, to geographically and demographically underserved communities. This disconnect can be readily illustrated by the fact that even for those persons earning a STEM undergraduate degree in the United States, only twenty-eight percent end up working in a STEM job. What is the disconnect and what are the opportunities to bridge the gap between those persons that have the potential to be successful in these roles, and the employees that need those talent resources. We will discuss this in context to existing talent and employer barriers to success, and how we can overcome them via the use of data and technology to support experiential learning, apprenticeships, talent outreach, and organizational culture alignment.

Brief Biography

As an executive-level leader in the private, non-profit and public sectors Bobby has provided leadership in innovation, cybersecurity, data and technology, education and workforce development to Fortune 100 companies, large non-profits, local governments, state and national agencies, the national intelligence community, and secondary and higher education institutions. Under Bobby’s guidance, CivilianCyber has established itself as a leader in technology-driven workforce development and the company serves as the workforce lead for various prominent state and national initiatives. As Chief Technology Innovations Officer at the Virginia Department of Education Bobby was nationally recognized as a Top 25 innovative technology leader by EdScoop.com for his industry leading initiatives. He has also served as a Governor appointee to the Virginia Information Technology Advisory Council (ITAC), oversaw technology services for over seventy state agencies, was a founding member of U.S. Department of Education #GoOpen movement, serves on the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Cybersecurity Center Advisory Board, and has chaired national advisory boards to include the Generate Data Governance Group that oversees the automation of federal data collection and reporting. Many of his programs have also served as national models to include GoOpenVA: Virginia’s Open Education Resource initiative, the K12 Learning Infrastructure Program (KLIP), the Virginia Cybersecurity Summer Camps, and the Student-Led Ideation Challenge (SLIC) that was recognized by the White House. As a consultant Bobby has advised organizations as diverse as Google, Metropolitan Museum of Art, CarMax and Harrah’s Casino. Bobby earned his Executive MBA and his Master of Information Systems Management from VCU, both with honors, and is a veteran of the United States Army where he was a Non-Commissioned Officer, Certified Jungle Operations Expert and recipient of the Humanitarian Services Medal.