White House Launches Cyber Reskilling Program

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In its trial run, Federal Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy will certify some 25 feds with non-technical backgrounds as cyber defense analysts.

The White House is launching its first program to retrain federal employees for careers in government cybersecurity.

The Federal Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy will provide feds with non-technical backgrounds the hands-on training needed to qualify as cyber defense analysts, Federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent said Friday during a press call.

The program, run by the Education Department and CIO Council’s Workforce Committee, aims to address the “critical shortage” of trained cyber talent facing the federal government, Kent said.

“The administration is very committed to developing a 21st-century workforce,” she said. “By making this available to current federal employees, we can support career growth and retention for those who are already part of the mission.”

Feds hoping to join the academy’s inaugural class must submit an application and personal statement by Jan. 11. All those who apply will then take an online assessment evaluating their critical thinking and problem solving skills, and results will be used to narrow down the candidate pool, Kent said.

Employees who are admitted to the program will be notified by Feb. 25. Classes are scheduled to begin March 11 and wrap up June 9. All training will take place in Washington, D.C.

The pilot is open only to feds who don’t currently work in IT positions, though Kent said tech specialists will be able to participate in a second pilot scheduled to kick off Spring 2019. Roughly 25 feds will participate in the academy's trial run.

Those who complete the program are expected to assume positions within the government IT workforce, though it might not be with their original agency, according to a senior administration official.

While Kent said a single pilot won’t solve all the workforce challenges the government faces, it “will let us understand the success rate and look to expand and industrialize [programs] across the federal government.”