DHS Creates Cyber Internships for Community College Students, Veterans

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The unpaid volunteer program provides an opportunity to learn critical skills.

The Homeland Security Department on Thursday announced a new honors program designed to draw students to cybersecurity programs at community colleges.

The new Cyber Student Initiative, which is part of the Secretary Honors Program announced last fall, is an attempt to engage community college students, including veterans, in cybersecurity work at DHS.

The program will begin at Immigration and Customs Enforcement computer forensic labs in 36 cities nationwide, where students will be trained and gain hands-on experience within the department's cybersecurity community. The unpaid volunteer program is only available to community college students and veterans pursuing a degree in the cybersecurity field.

“DHS is committed to providing opportunities for the next generation of cyber professionals,” said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in a statement. “The Secretary’s Honors Program Cyber Student Initiative will offer current students the opportunity to learn more about the critical skills and experience needed to succeed and protect our nation from evolving cyber threats.”

The honors program was created in response to a report released in October by the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s Task Force on Cyber Skills. The task force recommended that DHS strengthen its outreach to students at community colleges and the veteran population. Last week, Dr. Doug Maughan, director of the cybersecurity division at DHS, said the department is moving forward on the 11 recommendations included in the report.

DHS said it plans to work with community colleges to encourage students to apply for the honors program and also will coordinate with the Veterans Administration and the American Association of Community Colleges to promote the program.

The application period for the cyber honors program will close on May 3, with student volunteer positions beginning in June.

For more information on the program, click here.