Thu, Sep 24, 2015

Symantec Makes Substantial Investment in Cybersecurity Job Training for Veterans with National Non-profit Per Scholas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SILVER SPRING, MD - Sept. 24, 2015 - Cybersecurity giant Symantec invests $375,000 in it’s newest Cyber Career Connection (SC3) partner, national IT workforce development organization Per Scholas in the National Capital Region, to train military veterans for careers in cybersecurity.

As the economy continues to improve and headlines tout large numbers of job creation, the reality in low-income and middle-class communities shows the economic recovery has not hit everyone. In the National Capital Region, unemployment is at 5%-8% with 10%-16% of residents below the poverty line, and 45%-59% of adults lacking post-secondary credentials (DC, MD; Opportunity Index, 2014). Yet tech positions, accessible through training and credentials, are plentiful and growing. By 2018, regional businesses will grow their non-management IT workforce from 198,851 to over 219,456 positions (CareerBuilder/EMSI Analyst, 2014). Between turnover and new job openings, there are approximately 9,800 annual openings that residents, if properly trained, could fill.

To address this gap, the Per Scholas workforce development approach is driven by the understanding of the business community and where the pain points are in hiring. That information is used to build training programs tailored to the skills that are currently in demand in information technology. Upon opening its doors in the National Capital Region, Per Scholas heard from employers eager to fill cybersecurity roles.

The National Capital Region (NCR) had more than 23,000 job postings for cybersecurity in 2013, and 2015 projections show this number grew to 33,000, the most nationally. Growing demand is only part of the challenge employers face. The pipeline of talent is also scarce given cybersecurity qualifications.

Recognized by the White House as an effective model, Per Scholas has a track record and an independent study that proves several weeks of training is sufficient for its students, who are adults unemployed or in low-wage jobs, to acquire the skills and certification needed to succeed in entry-level IT roles. In less than one year of operation, Per Scholas of the National Capital Region trained 100 technologists with a 92% graduation rate, and 86% of those graduates have already landed jobs at average starting wages upwards of $39,000 annually.

Chrystal Banks graduated from Per Scholas in late 2014. A former barista at Starbucks and mother to a 2-year-old son, Chrystal nearly completed college before the cost of school became more than she could manage on her hourly salary. When the opportunity of Per Scholas was presented to her, she jumped on it eager to make a career out of a natural knack she had with technology. Chrystal graduated and began working on the Help Desk at a local university that earned her both a stable income and stable schedule. She is soon to begin an advancement course to learn web development at General Assembly. “Coming with the basic skills Per Scholas gave me, it’s up to me to take the initiative to build on that, and I’ve done that,” Chrystal shared. “I have a job. I have a nice apartment. My son is smart, and I get to nurture that. I have resources and a stable work schedule that allows me to be there for him and support his growth.”

Through the SC3 cybersecurity program, Per Scholas will provide military veterans tuition-free training in IT support and cybersecurity. The first eight weeks of training facilitated by Per Scholas will prepare participants with the foundation of IT infrastructure and support leading to the CompTIA A+ certification. The second phase of the training will be provided in partnership with Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) and provide four additional months of training that leads to Network+, Security+ and Ethical Hacker Certifications and entry-level employment assistance into cybersecurity.

Referral partners for this program will come from Paralyzed Veterans of America, Easter Seals, the Center for Women Veterans, and the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation to ensure the training is offered to two of the most overlooked but talented groups of people. The training will be conducted at Per Scholas, 700 Roeder Road, 1st Floor, Silver Spring, MD. Any questions should be directed to Bridgette Gray at (301) 557-9200 or to nationalcapitalregion@perscholas.org.

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ABOUT

Per Scholas is a national nonprofit offering tuition-free, high-quality technology job training and career development to unemployed and underemployed individuals. Since 1998, more than 5,000 have enrolled in its job training programs. For more information, visit perscholas.org, Twitter @PerScholas and Facebook.

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