A 120-day cybersecurity apprenticeship sprint coordinated by the White House and the Department of Labor has created 194 new registered programs, the Biden administration announced Tuesday.
As part of the sprint, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has established the first civilian federal cybersecurity apprenticeship program to provide a pathway to quickly hire underserved populations veterans into the federal government through cybersecurity roles. Through this new program, a cohort of 8-10 VA cyber apprentices will begin in February 2023.
In total, the sprint resulted in more than 7,000 cyber apprentices getting hired, of which over one-third were female and 42% were people of color. Out of the cyber apprentices hired, 1,000 were from the private sector.
The sprint was launched in July in a bid to alleviate a shortage in cyber employees. There have been massive challenges in hiring cybersecurity employees within the government due to a tight labor market and a severe shortage of skilled cyber engineers and analysts and the problem continues to get worse.
Some federal agencies have even been forced to poach cybersecurity employees from other agencies in the federal government, the Commerce Department CIO André Mendes told FedScoop earlier this year.
CyberSeek, a recruiting website for cybersecurity jobs in the U.S., funded by the Commerce Department, says that in the public sector or the government, there are 47,114 vacant cyber jobs and 72,599 cybersecurity experts currently employed.
The Labor Department’s cyber sprint, which aimed to help solve this talent gap, was created in coordination with the departments of Commerce, Homeland Security, Defense, and other federal agencies. The largest cybersecurity registered apprenticeship program was sponsored by the Defense Department’s United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP).
The Sprint was also driven by federal agencies’ partnerships with major private sector companies like Cisco, CompTIA, McDonald’s, and IBM along with community groups like Howard Community College and Island Mountain Development Group.
There has been a huge surge in cybersecurity job openings within the private sector in the past year following a series of massive attacks in the last two years on the computer systems of the federal government, the Colonial Pipeline, and the meat producer JBS that have brought mainstream awareness to the need for increased cybersecurity within the government and the private sector.