White House Sprint Ends With Nearly 200 New Cyber Apprenticeship Programs

The Biden administration has ended the 120-day Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint on Tuesday—during National Apprenticeship Week—as part of ongoing efforts to address workforce needs.

President Joe Biden created the sprint to help meet the nation’s growing cybersecurity needs, while striving to build a diverse, robust and skilled workforce. The program aimed to have employers, industry associations, labor unions and training providers engage with the Registered Apprenticeship system—in which apprenticeship programs are vetted by industry and approved by the Department of Labor or a state agency—as a strategy for recruitment, training and retention by either creating a new apprenticeship program or joining an existing one.  

As a result of the program,194 new cybersecurity Registered Apprenticeship programs were approved or under development. Additionally, new and existing program sponsors expanded their programs, adding 120 cybersecurity-related occupations to existing and new Registered Apprenticeship programs. Major organizations like IBM, Cisco Systems, Power, CompTIA and the Department of Defense created new or expanded existing Registered Apprenticeship programs. 

For example, the Department of Defense’s United Services Military Apprenticeship Program sponsors the largest cybersecurity Registered Apprenticeship program. Under USMAP, in January 2022, DOD and DOL created the first federal cybersecurity apprenticeship program. As part of the program, DOD identified and established standards for 15 critical cybersecurity infrastructure careers. All of the standards have since been approved, and 10 were approved during the sprint. DOD also issued a memo encouraging the use of the apprenticeship programs to expand the cybersecurity workforce. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs established the first federal civilian cybersecurity apprenticeship program under the sprint. The program is designed to be a model to hire veterans into the cybersecurity workforce, and the first group of 8-10 apprentices will begin in Feb. 2023. 

“The conclusion of the National Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint is an important milestone that we are proud to be a part of, but work to develop cyber talent continues,” Amy Kardel, senior vice president for workforce relationships at IT industry association CompTIA, said. “Each day we are reminded of the cyber threats that we face as individuals, as organizations and as a nation. The strongest defenses begin with a cyber workforce that is highly trained and certified.”

More than 7,000 apprentices were hired from this initiative, of which the majority were hired by non-private-sector programs. From the over 1,000 private sector apprentices, 42% are people of color and 32% are female. Before the initiative, 27% of cybersecurity apprentices were people of color and 28% were female, which, according to the announcement, “reflects the impact of this sprint and the power of the public and private sector working together and partnering with community-based organizations to reach diverse populations.” 

Additionally, more than 2,000 organizations and people looking for careers expressed interest in learning about Registered Apprenticeship. 

The Cyber Apprenticeship Sprint was run by the Department of Labor, with assistance from the White House Office of the National Cyber Director, as well as the Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, in addition to other agencies.  

“The 120-Day Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint will increase awareness of current successful cybersecurity-related Registered Apprenticeship programs while recruiting employers and industry associations to expand and promote Registered Apprenticeships as a means to provide workers with high-quality, earn-as-you-learn training for good-paying cybersecurity jobs,” Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said. “These newly trained workers will help protect our critical infrastructure, advance our digital way of life, strengthen our economy and improve access to cybersecurity career paths for underrepresented communities, especially women, people of color, veterans and people with disabilities.”

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