Census, cyber, satellites and soccer

News and notes from around the federal IT community.

Shutterstock image: looking for code.

Symantec eyes non-college cyber workers

Software firm Symantec is taking a crack at the cybersecurity workforce shortage through a program that trains young adults for cyber jobs that don’t necessarily require a college degree.

The training program will begin with pilot projects in San Jose, Calif.; Baltimore, Md.; and New York City, said Symantec, which has about 18,500 employees.

The program will include “a mix of classroom education and soft skills development, followed by on-the-job experience during cybersecurity internships,” the Mountain View, Calif.-based firm said in a statement. After completing internships, students can apply for full-time, entry-level cybersecurity positions.

The training program is part of a youth employment initiative unveiled this week by the Clinton Global Initiative, a development forum founded by former President Bill Clinton.

“There is an enormous global shortage of trained cybersecurity professionals, even though some jobs can be done without a four-year college degree,” Aled Miles, a senior vice president at Symantec, said in a statement.

Census launches online test

The U.S. Census Bureau this week launched an effort to get households to self-report using a secure, online questionnaire. The bureau is testing technology that it might deploy for the massive 2020 nationwide enumeration to save money on field operations, including door-to-door visits and paper questionnaires.

The mailer went out to about 200,000 households in Washington, D.C., and neighboring Montgomery County in Maryland, including the home of at least one FCW reporter. It's not exactly subtle: a bolded, call-caps notice on the envelope alerts recipients that, "YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW." Those who opt to respond online are asked to provide and email address, and are given a four-digit code for security purposes. This is for users who don't complete the quiz in one sitting and need to return to their page.

Once the form is completed, user access to the Census account is apparently suspended. The Bureau collects the names, ages and ethnic background of all household residents, as well as information on individuals who might be staying temporarily at a particular dwelling, or are away for work or school, or incarcerated. Recipients who cannot or do not wish to participate online are directed to provide their information by phone.

DHS could see small funding bump

The Department of Homeland Security would get a modest overall budget increase for FY2015, based on the bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The funding measure provides $47.2 billion for fiscal 2015 -- $643 million above fiscal 2014 levels. The committee said in a statement that of the total, $45.65 billion is for discretionary programs, including $213 million for Coast Guard overseas contingency operations and $6.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund. Excluding those two adjustments, the net discretionary appropriation for DHS is $39 billion. Though the figure is higher than last year's, DHS discretionary appropriations have dropped by 8.3 percent since fiscal 2010.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), chairwoman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, said in a statement that the increase in funding would allow FEMA to restore its flood mapping program -- a long-standing need for the agency.

SBIRS satellite contract worth $1.86 billion for Lockheed

Defense Systems reports that the Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a $1.86 billion contract to finish production of the fifth and sixth satellites for the Space Based Infrared System, which provides ballistic missile early warning and infrared surveillance to up and down the chain of command.

More proof that soccer is the global game

The soccer field isn't the only place the United States and Germany are facing off; there's also some friendly competition on the International Space Station. Thursday's World Cup game pitted NASA's Reid Wiseman and Steve Swanson against the European Space Agency's Alexander Gerst, from Germany. Despite being 200 miles above Earth, the trio was reportedly still tuning in for Thursday's game.

NASA has jumped on the World Cup bandwagon this year -- creating a World Cup landing page, and using its satellite technology to capture photos of the Cup host cities in Brazil.

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