The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced that it has awarded $2 million to bring cybersecurity training programs to rural communities and diverse populations.

CISA awarded the money to two nonprofit organizations, NPower and CyberWarrior, which will both focus on training the unemployed and underemployed; underserved communities in urban and rural areas; as well as traditionally underserved populations, to include veterans, military spouses, women, people of color.

“Addressing the cyber workforce shortage requires us to proactively seek out, find, and foster prospective talent from nontraditional places. CISA is dedicated to recruiting and training individuals from all areas and all backgrounds with the aptitude and attitude to succeed in this exciting field,” CISA Director Jen Easterly said. “It’s not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do – for the mission and the country. We’re best positioned to solve the cyber challenges facing our nation when we have a diverse range of thought bringing every perspective to the problem.”

CyberWarrior and NPower will work with CISA to develop a scalable and replicable proof of concept to identify and train individuals around the country. CISA said the training program will rely on non-traditional job training and apprenticeships programs to help the Federal government; state, local, tribal, and territorial entities; as well as private sector employers address current and future cyber workforce needs.

In a press release, CISA said the three-year pilot program aims to:

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive cybersecurity pathways retention strategy;
  • Deliver entry-level cybersecurity training through innovative training hubs;
  • Provide hands-on and professional development experience through apprenticeships; and
  • Decrease the cybersecurity workforce shortage by placing talented individuals into entry-level cybersecurity jobs.
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