Reaching Out to Create a Diverse Cybersecurity WorkforceSANS Institute's Cyber Workforce Academy Could Be a Model
The SANS Institute's recently developed Cyber Workforce Academy is helping to address the shortage of cybersecurity professionals by recruiting individuals from other fields and matching graduates with local employers, says Max Shuftan, who leads the cyber talent division at the institute. The training approach could serve as a model for others, he says.
"In the state of Maryland, we have had the opportunity to work with a series of employers and nonprofits to combine the various (SANS) academies that we started a few years ago into one program, which we have called the Cyber Workforce Academy," Shuftan says. "That program is aimed at helping ... veterans and diverse career changers from racial and ethnic minorities and women seeking to enter the cyber workforce."
Since its inception in 2018, the four-month program has trained over 75 Maryland residents. Recently renewed state funding will enable the academy to training for nearly 100 more. Shuftan says the program could serve as a template for others.
"We think what's really built here is the model - if you can find individuals of high aptitude and high potential, you can train them in an immersive timeframe of maybe three to five months... and then get them into the workforce."
In this interview (see audio link below photo), Shuftan discusses:
- How to find individuals who have the potential skills and aptitude for cybersecurity work;
- Criteria that the program has for its candidates;
- Programs to promote diversity and inclusion in the cybersecurity workplace.
Shuftan leads the CyberTalent division of the SANS Institute. In this role, he oversees all program operations, business development and partnerships for the various immersion academies and assessment tools. Under his leadership, SANS CyberTalent has granted more than 450 scholarships to individuals with high aptitude through the VetSuccess, Women's and Diversity Cyber academies.