Government

White House ‘sprint’ to offer more cybersecurity apprenticeships

The White House wants to help employers build their own apprentice programs.
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Francis Scialabba

· 3 min read

Like a mean, mean football coach, the White House went out on a hot July day and told everybody to sprint.

At a summit last month, government officials, including National Cyber Director Chris Inglis, announced a campaign to encourage and recruit employers to quickly start their own registered training programs and fill open job roles in the understaffed cybersecurity industry.

The “Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint” campaign has led to additional commitments from the public and private sector, including Fortinet, Cisco, and the nonprofit (ISC)², to increase training for cybersecurity prospects.

That’s a RAP. A Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) offers participants a pathway to the cybersecurity industry—a field that had more than 700,000 job openings in April.

What makes an apprenticeship different from, say, an internship?

An apprenticeship has certifications (like the CompTIA A+) and standards approved by the Labor Department. A registered apprenticeship also offers a combination of paid work experience, classroom instruction, and credentials.

The “sprint” is an effort to get those registration numbers up—to educate the public on the options, recruit employers to start RAP-ping, and to “advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) across cybersecurity occupations.”

Apprenticeships develop a broader workforce, without requiring a four-year degree, said Amy Kardel, who serves on the Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (ACA) and is senior vice president of strategic workforce relationships for the trade association CompTIA.

“The barrier to entry is really aptitude and attitude,” Kardel told IT Brew.

Interested parties can visit apprenticeship.gov to be paired with support partners and experts.

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“We’re going to create hundreds of new registered apprenticeship certifications in cyber, which will help us to recruit, train, and place a good chunk of the 700,000 jobs that we need to find,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at the summit.

A call across the industry. Recent industry events and government reports have highlighted the need for talent—and training programs to supply it.

“We need to launch more apprenticeships so prospective employees can acquire tangible skills directly from our experts,” Trellix CEO Bryan Palma told a crowd at RSA 2022 in June.

One of the 19 recommendations from the Cyber Safety Review Board’s report on the Log4J vulnerability: The government must invest in secure software development training. “Software developers come from a range of backgrounds and often do not have access to formal training programs,” read the research.

Get set…go! In connection with the July summit, a number of organizations announced apprenticeship-specific efforts. The (ISC)² nonprofit, for example, pledged to certify one million people, allowing them to take its entry-level certification exam for free. (See the full list of pledges here.)

CompTIA announced a pilot program to help the managed service provider ConnectWise create apprenticeship programs and “matchmake” those programs with apprentices.

“These jobs at MSPs across the country are in every zip code. There’s not a pocket of America that doesn’t have this need,” said Kardel.—BH

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Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to software development and gaming. Our IT Brew newsletter delivers the latest news and analysis of trends shaping the IT industry, like only The Brew can.