Fortress Information Security, a leader in securing critical infrastructure from cybersecurity risks through asset and vendor risk management solutions, has announced a partnership with Burns & McDonnell, a full-service designer and builder of critical infrastructure.
The first collaboration between Fortress and Burns & McDonnell will center on two initiatives: (1) incorporate the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Cyber-Informed Engineering (CIE) to help ensure that grid technologies are building in security early and throughout the design phase of engineer, procurement and construction contracts. The second collaboration is called “PEEIR - Protecting Energy and Equity while Improving Reliability,” which is a comprehensive program designed to address workforce diversity in cybersecurity.
A Powerful Partnership Built to Improve Critical Infrastructure Security
The energy sector partnership between Fortress and Burns & McDonnell combines the asset-vendor, supply-chain cybersecurity expertise of Fortress with the project development and construction capabilities provided by Burns & McDonnell.
“Partnership between engineering firms and security companies is exciting to see and provides a tangible approach to implement CIE design principles where security is needed most – the power grid”
DOE’s Cyber Informed Engineering is a program designed to encourage cybersecurity experts and engineers to work together early-on in the design lifecycle. “Partnership between engineering firms and security companies is exciting to see and provides a tangible approach to implement CIE design principles where security is needed most – the power grid,” said Ginger Wright of Idaho National Laboratory.
A Program that Enables Disadvantaged Communities
The program is funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will enable more members of disadvantaged communities and energy justice populations to pursue careers in the solar energy industry. DOE’s announcement of the program comes as the agency works to ensure that the solar workforce of the future is equitable, inclusive and benefits all Americans, particularly disadvantaged communities.
As one of its first steps under the partnership, Fortress has proposed to DOE a custom-tailored program called “Protecting Energy and Equity while Improving Reliability (PEEIR).” The two-year PEEIR program, to be executed with Burns & McDonnell, will leverage $750,000 in SETO seed money to determine the skills gap for utility companies, survey and assess a supplier’s ability to meet a utility’s qualifications and third-party risk requirements, develop a custom training curriculum, and train 50 individuals annually through a virtual training course developed in partnership with the American Association of Blacks in Energy.
DOE has set a goal of 75 percent participation of minority trainees and 75 percent job placement after training. Apart from the Burns & McDonnell venture, Fortress has applied for DOE funding as an individual service provider under the same program.
DOE expects that the solar energy industry will need to grow from 300,000 workers today to between 500,000 and 1,500,000 workers by 2035 to achieve decarbonization goals. The agency has set out to ensure that the industry reflects workers from all backgrounds and provides competitive wages, benefits and other opportunities.