The nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service announced its inaugural class of the Cybersecurity Talent Initiative – a public-private partnership aimed at recruiting and training a world-class cybersecurity workforce. As the initiative’s first participants begin their federal agency work, applications to join the next cohort are now open.

The aim of the Cybersecurity Talent Initiative is to reduce the cybersecurity talent gap and provide participants with up to $75,000 in student loan assistance. The initiative is in response to expected gaps in skilled cybersecurity workers. In 2020, there will be more than 507,000 unfilled U.S. cybersecurity jobs. The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the critical need for competent and highly-skilled workers—in both the public and private sectors—to protect the security and health of all Americans.

The inaugural class of 10 future cybersecurity leaders brings a variety of academic and professional experience to the federal government. These recent college graduates will serve a two-year placement at one of six federal agencies before being invited to apply for positions with one of the initiative’s corporate partners, and once hired, will receive student loan assistance.

Federal agencies participating in the Cybersecurity Talent Initiative include the Central Intelligence Agency, Departments of Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Election Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Office of Naval Intelligence. Corporate partners include Mastercard, Microsoft and Workday.

“The pandemic is showing us what happens when an under-prepared federal government faces a disaster. Our reliance on remote work and learning through technology underscores the critical need to prepare for and safeguard against cyber threats,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership. “We can’t wait for another emergency to shore up our talent pipeline and staff the government with cybersecurity experts, and that is why the Cybersecurity Talent Initiative is so important."

Applications for the second cohort are now open. Students completing undergraduate or graduate degree programs in cybersecurity-related fields are encouraged to apply. Agencies will make offers by spring 2021 and participants will start in the summer or fall of 2021. Before the end of their federal service, participants will be invited to apply for full-time positions with the program’s corporate partners, and those hired will receive up to $75,000 in student loan assistance.

Click here to learn more about the initiative.