AAWDC earns grant to implement cybersecurity program

| June 13, 2014 | 2 Comments

AAWDCThe Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation (AAWDC) and Dunbar Armored  announced that the Central Maryland Cyber/IT Consortium has been awarded a two-year $366,000 Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) Implementation Grant from the Department of Labor and Licensing (DLLR) to implement a business-driven cybersecurity workforce program.

The EARN program is a new, state-funded, competitive workforce development grant program that is industry-led, regional in focus and a proven strategy for helping businesses cultivate the skilled workforce they need to compete. It’s designed to ensure that Maryland employers have the talent they need to compete and grow in an ever-changing 21st century economy.

Building on a $25,000 EARN Planning Grant, the Central Maryland Cyber/IT Consortium highlights the collaborative efforts of 13 small, mid-sized, and large cybersecurity businesses concentrated in the Central Maryland region. In partnership with experts in the education/training and workforce and economic development arenas, the Consortium focused on addressing the common needs of businesses for a well-prepared cybersecurity workforce.

“We learned very quickly that the missing piece is industry engagement,” said Chris Ensey, the Consortium’s convener and Chief Operating Officer at Dunbar Cybersecurity. “Our program is built around developing foundational security skills combined with hands-on experience in an apprenticeship/mentorship process. We want to tear down the initial barriers of entering the cybersecurity field, jump start careers, and close critical skills gaps found in a variety of professional paths in this industry.”

“Generations ago, workforce development through apprentice/mentor programs helped to accelerate growth in Baltimore’s manufacturing industry and we intend to recreate that model for this industry,” explained Ensey.  “The companies benefit from a well-supported process and will have access to a rich pool of talent—talent that has already been pre-screened and prepared for the daily responsibilities and challenges in cybersecurity.”

In the future Ensey would like to see the pool of participating industry businesses grow so the Consortium can create additional opportunities. “With the large shortage of cybersecurity workers and an abundance of jobs in this industry, I believe it’s only a matter of time before our training program doubles or even triples its number of participants.”

“We are in the business of helping our area businesses solve workforce challenges and are thrilled to be able to implement what was mapped out during the planning stage,” said Kirkland Murray, CEO and President of AAWDC. “Our hope is that this training program becomes the model of success for addressing the shortage of cybersecurity workers, not only in our region but around the country.”

“I encourage Anne Arundel County businesses as well as our regional partners to participate in this innovative program, as it’s a win-win for both employers and job seekers,” said County Executive Laura Neuman. “The Central Maryland Cyber/IT Consortium has listened to the needs of the cybersecurity community and responded with a custom-made workforce solution that keeps us competitive in the market. I look forward to following the progress and success of this particular EARN program.”

For more information on how to participate in this industry-led training program, please contact LeVorn Smalley, AAWDC’s Industry Navigator for IT and Cybersecurity, at 410-777-2116 or [email protected].

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