CISA awards nonprofits $3 million to bolster cyber workforce

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency announced new awards designed to boost opportunities for workforce development and training in underserved communities.
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Two nonprofit organizations are receiving $1.5 million each from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to bolster cyber workforce development and training for underserved communities, the agency announced Friday.

One recipient, the South Memphis Renewal Community Development Corporation, has worked for more than two decades to enhance the lives of those in underserved communities. Their funding is designated for increasing access to cybersecurity education, training, support services and employment opportunities along the Mississippi River Delta Region. 

Per Scholas, the other recipient, plans to use the funding to build on its capacity to deliver training, apprenticeship opportunities and jobs to launch new, diverse, cybersecurity careers across the county, especially in Chicago; Newark, New Jersey; New York City and St. Louis. Per Scholas first launched its cybersecurity training in 2016 and focuses its work on advancing economic equity through tech workforce training. 

“CISA is looking forward to working with both recipients to help recruit and train tomorrow’s cybersecurity leaders,” CISA Director Jen Easterly said in a press release. “These organizations are such valuable partners and assets in building a diverse cybersecurity workforce that strengthens our nation’s cyber defense capabilities and enhances safety and security in our communities.”


Inside state and local government IT departments, finding and retaining top IT talent have been persistent challenges that have persisted beyond the exacerbating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, many states now offer more flexible work options like hybrid or remote opportunities and a growing number are eliminating four-year degree requirements, according to an October report from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers.

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