Expansion of SANS Cyber Workforce Academy Aims to Increase Diversity and Number of Skilled Cybersecurity Professionals in Maryland to Meet Regional Needs

Bethesda, Md. — August 3, 2021 — In partnership with the Maryland Department of Labor’s EARN program, the SANS Institute today announced the expansion of existing opportunities for Maryland Residents to reskill and for existing professionals to upskill into in-demand positions in Maryland’s high-growth and well-paying cybersecurity industry through 2023 via the SANS Cyber Workforce Academy – Maryland.

The SANS Cyber Workforce Academy - Maryland has partnered with the Maryland Department of Labor’s EARN program since 2018 to grow and diversify the cybersecurity workforce in Maryland. The program offers Maryland residents with the aptitude and passion for cybersecurity the opportunity to receive the hands-on technical training and achieve the industry certifications in demand by regional employers. Since 2018, the program has enrolled over 150 in reskilling training and graduated over 120 individuals, with many currently in the program and actively seeking employment. The Academy, working with 29 regional employers and six non-profit partners has successfully increased the local qualified cyber workforce and the diversity within it. Graduates of the program have gone on to serve the region’s need for skilled practitioners in roles such as Cybersecurity Analysts, Engineers, and Consultants, while achieving significant wage growth as a result of their employment upon completing the program.

Dragos is excited about ​​the expansion of the SANS Cyber Workforce Academy - Maryland program, and we welcome the state's continued investment and support. Because we operate in OT cybersecurity, an emerging cybersecurity sector, we rely on programs like the SANS Cyber Workforce Academy to help expand the pool of available professional talent - as we focus on building diverse teams that have the knowledge and skills to help defend our customers from cyber threats. We have hired SANS graduates at every level of our organization, and I am continually impressed with their understanding of our industry and command of the highly specialized skills we seek. The SANS focus on diversity and increasing the number of skilled professionals aligns completely with our mission to Safeguard Civilization.” -Bill Seaman, Dragos, Talent Acquisition Manager

The expansion of the program entails an extension of the reskilling track and the creation of a secondary upskilling track. The upskilling track will allow those with no more than three years of direct cybersecurity experience and those in cyber-adjacent roles to take up to two SANS courses and the associated certifications and meet the demand for skilled practitioners in areas such Cloud Security, Cyber Defense, Industrial Control Systems Security, and other specialized areas of cybersecurity. Women, veterans/military spouses, members of the BIPOC community, and those who are currently working in a cybersecurity role for small to medium sized organizations will receive preference in the admissions process.

"Labor is pleased to continue its successful partnership with the SANS Institute. With this substantial investment of EARN funding, the Cyber Workforce Academy will further its mission to increase the number of women, veterans, and other traditionally underrepresented populations in the cybersecurity industry, while ensuring employers have the highly skilled workforce necessary to grow and expand," -Secretary Tiffany P. Robinson, Maryland Department of Labor

The existing reskilling program will now include an additional training course and certification, SANS SEC275: Foundations - Computers, Technology, & Security and the GIAC GFACT certification, which will enable those with no prior experience in Information Technology or Cybersecurity to gain the core skills necessary to advance in their training and successfully transition into the cybersecurity workforce. The reskilling track will also include more options in its final course so students may specialize in high-demand areas of cyber.

“We are proud to partner with the Maryland Department of Labor to reduce barriers for diverse populations to join the cybersecurity workforce and expand their skills. As we continue to see an increase in threats and breaches alongside the ongoing impact of the cybersecurity skills gap, we are proud to be a part of the solution to identify and train the skilled cybersecurity professionals the state of Maryland and our nation need.” – Rob Lee, Chief Curriculum Director and Faculty Lead, SANS Institute

This is the second time the SANS Cyber Workforce Academy – Maryland EARN grant has been renewed. Interested individuals are encouraged to review eligibility requirements and apply at https://apply.immersionacademy.sans.org/apply/, and companies interested in hiring from the graduate pool at no cost to them can reach out to hiring@sans.org.

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. Today, SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals in government and commercial institutions worldwide. Renowned SANS instructors teach more than 60 courses at In-Person and Live Online cyber security training events, and more than 50 courses are available anytime, anywhere with our OnDemand platform. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates practitioner skills through more than 35 hands-on, technical certifications in cyber security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers a master’s degree, graduate certificates, and an undergraduate certificate in cyber security. SANS Security Awareness, a division of SANS, provides organizations with a complete and comprehensive security awareness solution, enabling them to easily and effectively manage their ‘human’ cyber security risk. SANS also delivers a wide variety of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, webcasts, podcasts, 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 support and educate the global information security community. (https://www.sans.org)