CyberMaryland, Veterans and Cybersecurity Workforce Challenges

Posted by Kathleen Smith


Jeffrey Wells
Jeffrey Wells, Maryland Department of Business Development

Each day we hear of new cyber attacks on companies, individuals and government agencies. This ongoing cyber battle and the workforce challenges it creates will be the focus of the CyberMaryland conference, October 29 and 30 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

As a veteran-owned company with extensive ties to the local military transition community, ClearedJobs.Net has been selected as the recruiting partner for CyberMaryland. We’ll be hosting a Cyber Job Fair for both cleared and non-cleared cyber security positions on the first day of CyberMaryland.

Deciphering the Cyber security Workforce Challenge

Over the next several months we’ll be deciphering the cyber workforce challenge through interviews with recruiters and program managers specifically involved with hiring cyber professionals. We’ll also be looking at how transitioning military professionals can apply their MOS to key cyber opportunities.

We kick off the series in an interview with veteran and CyberMaryland Executive Director, Jeffrey Wells.

What Is the Mission of CyberMaryland

Launched by Governor Martin O’Malley in January 2010, the CyberMaryland initiative brings together federal, state and local government; private businesses; academia; and workforce to address challenges to the security of our nation’s digital infrastructure, reinforce Maryland’s leadership in cyber security and information technology, and help the state fulfill its responsibility to support the nation’s cyber security mission while maximizing the benefits to and opportunities for Maryland.

What Programs or Services Does CyberMaryland Provide for Employers

Maryland offers a number of programs – from loan guarantees to venture capital to training assistance – to help companies grow and thrive in our state. The Maryland Venture Fund, for example, invests in innovative technology companies in cyber security and other industry sectors. In addition, the State also offers tax credit programs that allow companies to recapture costs associated with Security Clearances and building Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs).

We sponsored a program at the Chesapeake Innovation Center for CyberVets and work with several Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) that foster veterans’ entrepreneurship and job creation. Other programs and services include TEDCO’s Veterans Opportunity Fund aimed at investing in veteran businesses.

What Are Some of the Best Ways Companies Can Cultivate and Recruit Veterans

It is important for employers to understand that the U.S. Military is among the best trained workforces in the history of mankind. Training in leadership, execution, teamwork and discipline is at the heart of every veteran. These core skills translate into an employee who most likely has the skills companies need. What they may lack in technical skills, they can learn and be trained faster than their civilian peers.

I’ve challenged all of our cyber companies to interview one veteran every week – without looking at the veteran’s resume. The results in just a few weeks have been impressive.

What Were Some of the Challenges and Inspirations that Supported Your Military Transition

One challenge is translating military experience into a language that the Human Resources community understands. Veterans Service Organizations are a valuable resource to help veterans in that task, and we seek to bridge these resources with those that exist at the federal, state and local levels to better serve all veteran communities.

How Are Veterans Uniquely Qualified to Support Cyber Security Programs

Many of the tools, equipment and technologies that the U.S. Military has been using over the last decade are the foundations of modern cyber security. Anything with a microprocessor and electricity has a need to be protected. Most Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) have given veterans the basic and the advanced skills needed to work in this industry.

Share a Cyber Security Recruitment Success Story that Other Companies Can Emulate

I recently met a veteran who was working as a bartender. I introduced the veteran to the COO of a cybersecurity product company and after a 45-minute conversation, the COO offered him a job. Six weeks later, the veteran brought in $1.5 million in new business. That’s the kind of work veterans can do.

What Are CyberMaryland’s Veteran Hiring Program Goals

At the moment there are more opportunities in cyber security than there are job applicants. We are seeking to fill that application pool as quickly as possible, with women and men with diverse backgrounds. The most obvious talent pools for immediate focus are my fellow veterans. It would be great to match every veteran with a cyber security company. That’s no easy task, but it is a goal and we will continue to seek new and innovative ways – through our state, local and community partners; the Maryland Cyber Security Roundtable; and our educational institutions – to make that goal a reality.



This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 12:43 pm

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