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DHS Turns to Mentors to Strengthen Cyber Workforce

A computer science student working with her mentor.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is working to improve how it finds and develops qualified cybersecurity professionals with a new rotation and mentorship strategy.

Credit: ELIfestudentblog

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has adopted a rotation and mentorship strategy to find and develop qualified cybersecurity professionals.

As part of the strategy, individuals are assigned a mentor and rotate working on projects throughout the entire agency. "Most agencies and businesses are starting to adopt mentorship programs," says DHS director of the National Cybersecurity Education and Awareness office Robin Williams. "In the end, you want to have leaders with an expansive knowledge."

Mentorship programs are helping government agencies overcome a long-standing shortage of skilled cybersecurity workers.

Meanwhile, the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) is working to integrate cyber education into existing curricula in high schools. Cybersecurity can be part of almost any subject because it transcends all aspects of life, according to Williams. "This is an exploding profession that's at the cusp of really becoming one of the dominant careers in the United States," he adds.

Williams says the NICE program is helping to reach students who may have never considered a career in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM), and he notes the employment opportunities in cybersecurity is driving STEM education.

From Federal News Radio
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