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Filling the federal cyber talent pipeline

Federal agencies struggling to control and expanding attack surface against increasingly sophisticated adversaries are handicapped by the lack of a skilled cybersecurity staffing pipeline. As of June 2018, only 4% of federal cybersecurity employees were under the age of 30 and nearly 14% were over 60, according to federal workforce data.

A new public-private partnership aims to help fill the talent pipeline. The Cybersecurity Talent Initiative -- a partnership between federal agencies, the Partnership for Public Service and industry partners Mastercard, Microsoft and WorkDay plans to help jumpstart careers and develop the next generation of cybersecurity leaders.

Students graduating with a cybersecurity-related university degree can apply to work at a federal agency where they will enhance their skills by learning from cybersecurity experts and attending training and networking events. After two years, they will be eligible for full-time positions with the program's private-sector partners and, once hired, will be eligible to receive up to $75,000 in student loan assistance.

Founding agencies include the CIA,  Departments of Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, FBI, Federal Election Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Naval Intelligence and the Small Business Administration.

"It is critical for our government to attract and hire highly skilled workers capable of securing federal computer networks and building defenses against the thousands of cyberattacks that occur every year," said Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service. "The federal government has fallen more and more behind in the race for cyber talent, and this program will help get it back on track."

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.

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