A new scholarship program for Air Force veterans taps into the increasing demand for cybersecurity jobs.
The SANS Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies are offering cybersecurity training scholarships for 12 veterans of the Air Force. It is the pilot phase of a broader program to get veterans top public- or private-sector jobs in cybersecurity.
The 12 scholarships will provide training and certification in cyber skills such as intrusion detection and incident handling. A key emphasis of the pilot will be on setting veterans up for jobs after they complete training, said David Brown, SANS Institute’s director of cyber talent.
Verizon Enterprise Solutions and Computer Sciences Corp. are among the big IT firms that will evaluate program graduates for employment. The pilot is one of an increasing number of training programs that are betting on the common thread of situational awareness to link combat veterans with cybersecurity careers.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, was on hand for the Dec. 11 launch of the VetSuccess program on Capitol Hill.
"The idea is to try to make sure that the folks [who] have served us in uniform … when they separate from active duty, that they're employed," said Carper, who supported a recently passed bill aimed at helping the Department of Homeland Security recruit and retain cybersecurity professionals.
Interviews for the 12 scholarships are taking place this week, and the pilot program will begin in February. Senior Master Sgt. Donald Greene, a strategic mitigations manager at the Defense Information Systems Agency, applied for the scholarship and had an interview Dec. 10.
"In my current role … I don't have that level of technical expertise that I’m hoping to get from the SANS courses," he told FCW. Greene said he is looking to the SANS training to boost his skills in defending networks against advanced intrusions.
Greene, who did two tours in Iraq and is planning to retire from the Air Force, said he hopes to continue working on cybersecurity at DISA or get a private-sector job if he is admitted to and completes the pilot program.