DHS to Launch Cyber Student Volunteer Initiative to Attract Cybersecurity Professionals

The Department of Homeland Security recently announced that it would launch the 2015 Secretary’s Honors Program Cyber Student Volunteer Initiative, which is intended to train students in the expansive world of cybersecurity. The initiative comes in response to the growing demand both across the country in the private sector in general and within the DHS in particular for highly skilled cybersecurity professionals.

The program is slated to begin next spring and is open to college students enrolled in either a two- or four-year institution. Students will visit DHS field offices in more than 50 locations in several cities across the US and complete volunteer assignments that support the DHS cyber mission.

According to Alejandro Mayorkas, the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, the mission of the DHS as it pertains to cybersecurity has opportunities available to the best, brightest, and most committed individuals in the country. Students have a chance to garner firsthand experience in the application of their skills and talents in cybersecurity through participation in the DHS Cyber Student Volunteer Initiative. Some of the ways they are able to do this, says Mayorkas, includes assistance in defending “the nation’s cyber networks against attacks” to pursue criminals who exploit innocent citizens of the United States.

The initiative comes just after the release of a Raytheon survey that showed a substantial increase in interest among millennials in cyber-related careers. According to industry publication Homeland Security Today, Americans between the ages of 18 and 26 could very well be the key element in “closing the cybersecurity talent gap.” The publication also reported in its October/November issue that “a shortage of cybersecurity professionals has put the United States in a precarious position as organizations in both the public and private sectors face ongoing threats.” In other words, the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals within the US Department of Homeland Security has never been higher than it is right now.