An innovative approach to addressing Florida’s critical cyber workforce shortage, the program prepares veterans and members of other underrepresented groups for entry-level cybersecurity positions
September 9, 2019 – Tampa, FL: Dignitaries from Cyber Florida, the University of South Florida, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were on hand the afternoon of Friday, September 5, to celebrate the graduation of sixteen students, thirteen of whom are veterans, from the second iteration of Cyber Florida’s New Skills for a New Fight Program. Funded generously by JPMorgan Chase & Co., New Skills for a New Fight provided nine weeks of rapid training to prepare individuals to fill entry-level positions as Security Operations Center-Level 1 (SOC-1) Analysts. Upon graduation, three students already had secured new positions with Florida-based employers, and the remaining thirteen were engaged in first- and second-round interviews.
According to Cyberseek.org, Florida currently has more than 13,000 unfilled cybersecurity job openings, more than 5,000 of which are in security analysis.
In his remarks to the graduates, Cyber Florida Director Sri Sridharan noted the value of engaging underrepresented groups to mitigate the workforce shortage, saying, “We need to close this gap by engaging members of groups traditionally underrepresented in the field, by creating more pathways for women, minorities, and career changers. These groups are a great untapped pool of talent that can greatly benefit the cybersecurity industry.”
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Executive Director of Corporate Technology and Risk Rear Admiral Bradley Gehrke, U.S. Navy (Ret.), also spoke, noting that veterans particularly are well suited to careers in cybersecurity. “I am also a veteran; I understand how many valuable skills veterans bring to the fight—you guys are sharp, you’re tough, you’re smart…and all these traits make it worthwhile for you to go into the cybersecurity field,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the University of South Florida, Dr. Dwayne Smith, Senior Vice Provost & Dean, Office of Graduate Studies, recognized the generous contribution by JPMorgan Chase & Co. to New Skills for a New Fight and commented on the far-reaching benefits that public-private partnerships can achieve. “Sixteen people are equipped to seize new career opportunities…and that is a fantastic achievement on its own,” he said. “But I believe the benefits of this program will reach far beyond that. I am confident that the success of this program will inspire others, lead to more investment, and more graduation ceremonies in our community and across the state,” he continued.
After the success of this pilot program, Cyber Florida will investigate the feasibility of implementing future iterations to continue to support cybersecurity workforce development throughout Florida.
About Cyber Florida
The Florida Center for Cybersecurity (Cyber Florida) is a state-funded organization dedicated to positioning Florida as a national leader in cybersecurity through education and workforce development; innovative, interdisciplinary research; and community outreach. Hosted at the University of South Florida, Cyber Florida works with all 12 State University System of Florida (SUS) institutions as well as industry, government and defense to build partnerships and develop programs that grow and strengthen Florida’s cybersecurity industry.