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Maryland Employers Fill Cybersecurity Jobs with Innovative Talent Pipeline

  • Bethesda, MD
  • February 13, 2019

At a time when the talent shortage in cybersecurity continues to challenge employers and individuals have difficulty finding a pathway into critical cyber jobs, the State of Maryland has found a solution that works –Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN). EARN is a grant program of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR). SANS Institute, the world's leading provider of cybersecurity training and certification, is pleased to announce the success of the Cyber Workforce Academy – Maryland (Academy) in 2018 and launch of applications for 2019 slots. The Academy is a program funded in part by EARN and a strategic partnership of SANS, USO of Metropolitan Washington – Baltimore, Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu, Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake, and seventeen employers in the region.

EARN helps Maryland residents such as Yesi Flores, a veteran from Montgomery County. Yesi was making $12 an hour as a produce clerk when he enrolled in the Academy. The program enabled him to develop new skills and earn two industry-recognized GIAC certifications that are highly valued by employers. Upon his successful graduation from the Academy, Yesi secured a job as a SOC analyst, nearly tripling his previous income. Yesi’s natural talent, his passion for learning, and his professionalism will help him continue to take on more responsibility and build a great career in cybersecurity.

Building on the success of Academy graduates in 2018, at least four Academies are planned for 2019 and applications are currently being accepted at https://www.sans.org/cybertalent/cyber-workforce-academy-maryland. For graduates like Amy Riley, the program provided an opportunity to re-enter the workforce and change careers.  She is now a Systems Engineer for Network Security at GEICO. “I spent 12 years as a stay-at-home mom with various part-time jobs.  Prior to being a stay-at-home mom, I worked in the IT field as a Unix Engineer. The SANS Cyber Workforce Academy was a great way to learn about today’s cyber technology. The fast-paced courses brought me up to speed with current industry technology. The instructors, materials and labs all worked together to provide a comprehensive study of where cyber technology is today. The GIAC certifications earned, GSEC and GCIH, allowed me to reenter the workforce in stride,” shares Amy.

In 2018, nearly 1,100 individuals applied for the Academy. Applicants were invited to take an Aptitude assessment and based on performance were invited to complete an interview as well. 58 students were selected for participation and started in six different cohorts throughout the year. 19 have already secured employment in cybersecurity and another 14 have recently graduated and are currently seeking employment, with another 22 currently in training. This year the program will enroll at least another 25 students to fill the region’s cybersecurity jobs, with the potential for dozens more.

The Academy provides students with no prior cybersecurity experience with hands-on technical training, ANSI-accredited industry certifications and skills increasingly sought by Maryland employers. All Academy students are provided full scholarships and receive two SANS training courses taught by expert faculty as well as the associated GIAC Certifications. Academy graduates are introduced to seventeen employer partners such as CACI, Grant Thornton, GEICO, Thermo Fisher Scientific, IronNet Cybersecurity, Halfaker & Associates, ALTA IT Services, Aerstone, Intellidyne, Dataprise, PLEX Solutions, and more.

“The security industry is growing faster than the talent pipeline, and the Cyber Workforce Academy - Maryland gives us the opportunity to identify talent that we otherwise might not have found.  Employers from around the state should definitely look toward programs like this as a way to expand their talent pool and find the next generation of talented and capable cybersecurity professionals,” says Bryan Inagaki, Director, Cybersecurity Risk Management Corporate Information Security (CIS) Program, Thermo Fisher Scientific.

If you are interested in a career in cybersecurity or would like to hire an Academy graduate, please visit
https://www.sans.org/cybertalent/cyber-workforce-academy-maryland or contact immersionacademy@sans.org.

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals at governments and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach over 60 different courses at more than 200 live cyber security training events as well as online. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates a practitioner’s qualifications via over 35 hands-on, technical certifications in cyber security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers master's degrees in cyber security. SANS offers a myriad of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system–the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to help the entire information security community. (https://www.sans.org)