DHS workforce sprint brings in nearly 300 cyber employees
The Department of Homeland Security has hired approximately 300 new cybersecurity professionals after its 60-day cyber workforce “sprint” launched in May, and 500 more have tentative job offers, the agency announced July 1.
The goal was to increase the agency’s core of cybersecurity workers by 200 by July 1. Half of the new hires are for slots at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the other half to other DHS component agencies.
The initiative also looked to increase diversity in the ranks, officials say, and was based in best practices for diversity, equity and inclusion. This included targeted outreach to underserved communities and communities of color, the department said.
“DHS is dedicating significant energy toward exceeding our cybersecurity hiring goal by recruiting talented experts, investing in diverse talent pipelines, and ensuring equitable access to professional development opportunities at every level,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
Cybersecurity vacancies totaled about 2,000 at the start of the sprint, according to Mayorkas.
The Department faces a tight labor market for cybersecurity professionals. Nationwide, there are 464,420 cybersecurity job openings, according to Cyberseek, the cyber workforce tracker backed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Commerce.
The sprint isn’t the only workforce initiative DHS is pursuing.
DHS also announced that it’s launching a new Honors Program to recruit recent graduates for one-year professional development stints at the agency. The agency can hire those who finish successfully into permanent, full-time positions.
CISA is also expanding its K-12 education initiative with more professional development events for teachers, as well as an initiative with the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Agency officials are also working on the long-anticipated Cybersecurity Talent Management System, a new personnel system specifically for cybersecurity. It’s scheduled to roll out in September.
Natalie Alms is a staff writer at FCW covering the federal workforce. She is a recent graduate of Wake Forest University and has written for the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. Connect with Natalie on Twitter at @AlmsNatalie.