Visit Highlights Thriving North Carolina Cyber Workforce Ecosystem

March 20, 2024

Today in Fayetteville, N.C., National Cyber Director Harry Coker, Jr. continued the National Cyber Workforce & Education Strategy Roadshow at Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) spotlighting important work in the Tar Heel State encouraging veterans, military-connected spouses, and students who don’t necessarily have a four-year degree to pursue good-paying jobs in cybersecurity.

Hosted by the Carolina Cyber Network (CCN) and FTCC, Director Coker met with students, educators, employers, veterans, military-connected families, and local leaders to learn about best practices that can be replicated across the country to grow the nation’s cyber workforce.

Nearly 450,000 jobs have been created in North Carolina during the Biden-Harris Administration. Today, more than 18,000 cyber jobs are available across the Tar Heel state in critical industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, education, and finance.

Director Coker delivered remarks to more than 200 veterans, military-connected spouses, students and members and leaders of the North Carolina cyber community. In his remarks, Director Coker stated, “The partnership between Fayetteville Technical Community College, as part of the Carolina Cyber Network, serves as a beacon – creating a robust ecosystem that helps expand opportunities for all students – and especially impressive is the support for military spouses and upskilling and reskilling of transitioning veterans in the cyber workforce here in North Carolina and across the country.”

President Biden’s Executive Order, “Advancing Economic Security for Military and Veteran Spouses, Military Caregivers, and Survivors,” directs federal executive departments and agencies to strengthen their commitment to recruit and hire our nation’s skilled and diverse veterans and their families, a message reiterated by Rob Shriver, Deputy Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) who joined Director Coker on the trip.

Director Coker expressed how our nation’s veterans provide an untapped pool of talent that is not only helpful to fill federal job vacancies but employers nationwide should recruit veterans into the cyber workforce.

Director Coker encouraged those looking to break into cyber careers to gain hands-on learning experiences by pursuing Registered Apprenticeship opportunities, which are being supported by federal grants from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). DOL recently announced an additional $200 million in grants for which states and organizations can apply. North Carolina currently has 1,355 Veteran active apprentices across 149 programs. Three of these programs employ more than 100 Veteran apprentices, including the Fort Liberty Education Center, Pike Electric LLC, and the North Carolina National Guard.

Director Coker’s remarks are available here.

Important perspectives were also shared by Rob Shriver, Deputy Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) who emphasized efforts to expand pathways and remove barriers for veterans and military-connected family members looking to work in the federal government and Liz O’Brien, Director of Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouses Program who shared best practices from the private sector providing military spouses with professional training, networking and hands-on career experience.

The program also featured Major General Colin Tuley, Deputy Commanding General, XVII Airborne Corps, Fort Liberty, who poignantly shared how veterans and military-connected spouses bring a service-oriented sense of duty and mission to their post-service careers, including cybersecurity.

While at FTCC, Director Coker sat down with a diverse group of veterans, military-connected spouses and FTCC students who are pursuing cyber careers to learn from their experiences and hear why they are pursuing a career in cyber. He also visited the Cyber Career Expo jointly hosted by CCN and FTCC featuring 15 employers from the private sector, local government and academia all aiming to hire FTCC students. 

Director Coker also visited an ecosystem roundtable with local cyber industry stakeholders where he heard first-hand about their organizations’ challenges and opportunities. He noted innovative solutions that have worked in North Carolina to expand their cyber workforce pipeline. Presidents and administrators from the following institutions joined this conversation: Blue Ridge Community College, Catawba Community College, Fayetteville Technical Community College, Johnston Community College, Montreat College, Piedmont Community College, Richmond Community College, Stanly Community College, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wake Tech Community College and Wayne Community College.

Today’s event builds on President Biden’s Investing In America Agenda which includes historic legislation passed by Congress to transform the country with once-in-a-generation investments. In North Carolina, these investments include:

  • $5.8 billion in transportation investments in roads, bridges, public transit, ports and airports, as well as electric school and transit buses, EV charging, and more;
  • $3.1 billion to provide affordable, reliable high-speed internet which includes $1.5 billion through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program;
  • $469.3 million to improve water infrastructure;
  • $208.3 million in resilience funding against pressing challenges like cyberattacks; and
  • And $10.8 million from the Department of Homeland Security’s State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program to address cybersecurity threats to information systems in North Carolina.

Since President Biden took office, companies have committed to invest over $32 billion in North Carolina, which creates jobs in industries that will boost U.S. competitiveness including union jobs and jobs that do not require a four-year degree.

In addition, the following federal programs exemplify the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to expanding opportunities for veterans nationwide:

  • Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSG) provides $4.9 million in funding that serves 1,640 veterans.
  • The Off-Base Transition Training (OBTT) pilot program provides Transition Assistance Program resources to veterans and their spouses at locations other than active military installations.  In 2023, OBTT held 205 workshops serving 844 participants, and this year they have already completed 63 workshops serving 273 participants.
  • The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Office of Information Technology launched an interactive development resource that enables VA employees to explore career options by role, develop new skills/or refine existing ones, discover alternate career pathways, and access resources, including meaningful learning and development opportunities, necessary for achieving career goals.

Today, Director Coker announced the following new commitments from public and private sector partners, each devoted to strengthening the local and national cyber workforce:

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
AWS is collaborating with Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) to include AWS Academy Cloud Security Foundations as a course in the Computer Information Technology Cloud Management associate degree program by the spring of 2025. The collaboration is part of AWS Academy, which provides higher education institutions with a free, ready-to-teach cloud computing curriculum that prepares students to pursue industry-recognized certifications and in-demand cloud jobs.  Over 500 colleges and universities in the United States, including 20 in North Carolina, offer AWS Academy courses, and AWS Academy has trained more than 1 million learners globally.

Deloitte provides professional services to a wide array of private sector organizations and public sector agencies. Since 2020, Deloitte has been proud to co-host Waypoint, an annual mentorship and recruitment event that connects veterans with careers in technology-related fields, including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and many other cutting-edge ventures. In 2024, Deloitte and its alliances commit to increase veteran attendance by 20% to 65 attendees and increase veteran nonprofit support by 40% to 7 organizations, while providing tailored programming for female veterans and military spouses.

ISC2 (International Information System Security Certification Consortium)
ISC2 supports the White House’s Military Connected Families Workforce Sprint and is dedicated to ensuring cybersecurity jobs are an integral opportunity for veterans and military-connected families. In support of this effort, and as part of its One Million Certified in Cybersecurity program, ISC2 will provide a minimum of 25,000 individuals among the military community with its foundational Certified in Cybersecurity certification exam and training for free to help address the sector’s critical cybersecurity skills gap. ISC2 partners with leading training providers and universities worldwide, such as N2K, Cyber Range Solutions and Haystack Solutions, to enable those in the military community to create new pathways into the cybersecurity industry.

KSE Consulting Group
KSE, a woman owned tech company dedicated to training the next generation workforce, developed a pioneering neurological-based approach to cybersecurity education through its KSE Ecosystem. In the Cyber Technician Certification (CTC) program, entry-level professionals undergo comprehensive training over 12 months, acquiring stackable job skills crucial for navigating the cybersecurity landscape. KSE commits to offering 100 scholarships to veterans, facilitating a seamless transition into cyber-based careers post their military service. The next cohort commences on Thursday, April 17, 2024 and culminate in a Cybersecurity Career Fair.

NPower, a national nonprofit committed to broadening tech training opportunities for veterans, their families, and young adults, made waves with its expansion into North Carolina (NC) in 2023. Following a triumphant pilot program with 18 students in the spring of 2024, NPower NC is set to soar even higher. With a bold commitment to excellence, they aim to double the student enrollment in the upcoming year, extending tuition-free hands-on training and robust job placement support to an increasing number of participants each year.

OffSec, a global leader in continuous cybersecurity workforce development and learning, is committed to supporting the next generation of cybersecurity professionals by making training courses and content more widely available and accessible.  OffSec created the Cyber Diversity in Action (CDIA) Program and commits to provide $1 million in scholarships for OffSec’s certifications and training programs over the next five years to help bridge the diversity gap and support underrepresented groups in cybersecurity and information security. OffSec also funds and maintains Kali Linux, the leading operating system for penetration testing, ethical hacking, and network security assessments.

Pearson VUE
Pearson VUE, the certification and licensure arm of Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, is committed to helping address the need for qualified cyber professionals in the US workforce. To demonstrate this commitment, Pearson VUE made its IT Specialist: Cybersecurity training resources and certification exams available at no charge to its network of learning and assessment centers across Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Pearson now commits to extend this offer to include North Carolina with additional US locations to follow in future months, including US Military installations worldwide, enabling participating centers to train and prepare more qualified individuals to begin working toward a robust career in cybersecurity.

Rapid Strategy
Rapid Strategy, a North Carolina based cybersecurity firm renowned for its innovative solutions and commitment to excellence, is dedicated to building a diverse cybersecurity workforce with the goal of protecting our national security and homeland while making a meaningful societal impact. Rapid Strategy commits to hire 5 interns annually for the next three years through a Skill Bridge partnership and support collaborations with organizations focused on minorities and veterans from the local community including NPower and NC-PACE, to train 10 individuals annually for the next five years.

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