New Cybersecurity Registered Apprenticeship Program Provides Opportunity for Mississippians to Enter Careers in an In-Demand Industry
As cyber threats continue to grow in sophistication, businesses and entities from every sector face a challenge in recruiting skilled cybersecurity professionals capable of protecting their systems. This year, we expect to have an estimated 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally, and according to the MIT Technology Review, fewer than 25% of applicants have the minimum qualifications to secure a career in the industry.
Tony Marshall, president and CEO of Innovative Systems Group, recognizes the risk these numbers represent and is pursuing a simple solution that would significantly minimize the risk.
The Innovative Systems Group (ISG) launched a cybersecurity apprenticeship program, referred to as ISG-CAP, in 2013 to help decrease the cybersecurity skills gap and provide people from all walks of life with access to high paying, in-demand jobs. Through perseverance and a great desire to give back, ISG-CAP has maintained a 90% program success rate and 100% employment rate. More than that, most qualified cybersecurity workers earn an average of $100,000 after four years in the field.
Expanding Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Opportunities in Mississippi through bold new partnerships
Now, Marshall and ISG are paving the way for more people to access high paying jobs through apprenticeships with a new Registered Apprenticeship (RA) in partnership with the Mississippi Apprenticeship Program (MAP), Mississippi Power, and Southern Company. The expansion of the ISG-CAP program combines education, virtual simulation training, and real-world work experience. After completing the program, apprentices are trained and experienced cybersecurity professionals with industry-recognized certifications.
“This partnership with ISG demonstrates the value of apprenticeship for a range of industries,” said Tonya Neely, director of MAP. “We are excited to expand Registered Apprenticeship in Mississippi and offer an alternative path for Mississippians to obtain a rewarding career.”
Most cybersecurity positions do not require a college or university degree. With the program’s recent expansion, high school and college students have access to ISG-CAP through partnerships with numerous high schools and universities across the country.
“This is not to say that diplomas are not important or valuable. Many of our students obtain college degrees during their apprenticeship. Our goal is not to replace a college degree but to provide people with the on-the-job training necessary to be employable immediately,” said Marshall. People with cybersecurity and information technology experiences can land jobs such as computer support specialists, network administrators, network architects, database administrators, information security analysts, among other high-paying positions.
Creating opportunity for women, people of color, and veterans
Through the new program, Marshall also aims to expand opportunities for women, people of color, and veterans by developing focused recruitment strategies. Women and communities of color are traditionally left behind or shut out of tech careers, and Marshal wants to change this.
Currently, there is a bill in Congress that will provide $3.5 billion to colleges and universities, and, as a graduate of Howard University, Marshall plans to do all he can to make sure historically Black colleges do not get left out.
At the core of this work, Marshall hopes to tap into people’s curiosity and provide new opportunities for people who enjoy learning and experiencing new technology. “There is no perfect person for cybersecurity positions. There are different needs in various areas of our society. But anyone interested in cybersecurity needs to enjoy daily encounters with something they’ve probably never seen before”, said Tony Marshall.
MAP will continue working with companies like ISG to add more opportunities for students and companies to benefit from Registered Apprenticeships.
Learn more about Innovative Systems Group and ISG-CAP by visiting the company’s website. Learn more about various information technology apprenticeship opportunities on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website, apprenticeship.gov.