The federal government is looking to promote from within in an effort to address ongoing cybersecurity threats across government agencies and the workforce shortage hindering current efforts.
Starting at the beginning of 2019, the government is launching an initiative called the Federal Cyber Reskilling Academy, which is aimed at training current government employees to work in cybersecurity jobs—even if they have never worked in information technology-related jobs, according to the Washington Post.
“This is one of the areas in technology where we have higher vacancies and shorter tenures. We’re in the same situation as many private-sector industries where we’re fighting tooth and nail for cyber professionals,” Federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent told the Washington Post.
Any job in the federal government has a lengthy hiring process, and low government salaries cause individuals with cybersecurity skills and training to gravitate toward higher paying, in-demand roles in the private sector. By providing training for existing workers in non-cyber jobs, the government can also retain younger talent. According to the Post, the average age of a government worker is 47; thus, most began their careers before cybersecurity was a viable career path.
Cybersecurity expertise is critical in government agencies. Office of the Inspector General reports have noted weaknesses within the Food and Drug Administration, and at the US Department of Health and Human Services, a Government Accountability Office report observed problems with the security of Medicare data, among other issues.
“There are many who maybe didn’t have the opportunity to enter into this field at whatever point they transitioned into the federal government. This is a really unique opportunity to get skills and have your employer invest in building those skills,” Kent told the Post.