Human resources

OPM adds new cyber education program for feds and families

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The federal government is trying to shore up its cybersecurity workforce with a new program that offers discount training to current feds and their families. The Office of Personnel Management is teaming with Champlain College Online to create a new online Master of Science in Information Security Operations program, and the college’s truED alliance is offering a 50 percent discount for federal employees and their families.

The goal of the tuition discount is to encourage education in high-demand IT fields, including cybersecurity, that the U.S. Government Accountability Office has deemed "mission critical" and to direct young IT professionals towards public service.

The announcement also comes days after three federal agencies -- NASA, the Agriculture Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs -- publicized that they are looking to fill lucrative senior technical leadership positions.

"Across the Federal Government, we are working together to address critical cybersecurity skills gaps and help address the higher education needs of the Federal workforce," OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert said in a statement. "As part of our broader effort to attract more cybersecurity talent to Federal service, I'm excited to announce the launch of a program that will help us close this critical skills gap."

The  online, 20-month will be taught by cybersecurity specialists, and aims to equip young IT professionals with the skills necessary to prevent and combat cyber threats by providing "hands-on learning" experience.

The total discounted tuition prices under $12,000, a cost that will remain fixed through 2017.

OPM partnered with Champlain College last April to provide discount pricing for a range of online degree programs to federal employees and their dependents. This information security degree is the latest addition to that offering.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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Reader comments

Mon, Jan 25, 2016 IT Sec Pro Washington DC

Education is a good thing. However creating a program to provide fundamental Security skills the people currently in charge of IT Security is laughable.

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