Made possible by WiCyS Tier 1 partners and premier supporters, scholarship aligns with new National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy
Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS), the nonprofit organization dedicated to the recruitment, retention and advancement of women in cybersecurity, announced that its 4th annual Security Training Scholarship will open for applications on August 2.
The scholarship, created in partnership with Google and the SANS Institute, has scaled every year with support from Bloomberg, Meta and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and enables women to advance within cybersecurity while increasing diversity in the field. This is a multi-staged scholarship opportunity for WiCyS members who will have the opportunity to launch and advance their cyber careers through skills development. No prior experience in cybersecurity or tech is needed.
“The WiCyS Security Training Scholarship experience has been unlike anything I have experienced in my life,” said Lauren Gutierrez, a former Chicago Public School teacher, who is now a cybersecurity professional and WiCyS scholarship recipient. “I have gained an incredible support system, and access to hundreds of resources, and have the honor of taking classes with SANS, the most respected cyber training program in the world. I am a mom to two children and a former kindergarten teacher who made the bold decision to move into cybersecurity. This opportunity has given me a clear path forward to enter the field with confidence knowing that I will not be on this journey alone.”
The scholarship comes on the heels of the July 31 announcement of the Office of the National Cyber Director’s (ONCD) National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive approach aimed at addressing both immediate and long-term cyber workforce needs, to which WiCyS is committing its efforts.
“WiCyS has worked tirelessly to advance women in cybersecurity and this program is helping to reach workforce goals by making careers in this demanding field accessible to WiCyS members,” said Lynn Dohm, executive director of WiCyS. “In alignment with the ONCD’s multi-organizational approach, WiCyS has created a turnkey solution to filling the educational gap that is cultivating a culture of inclusion, where everyone belongs in cybersecurity. We encourage more companies to join in this opportunity to make a significant difference by influencing and supporting thousands of WiCyS members.”
What sets the WiCyS Security Training Scholarship program apart is that it finds hidden talent, empowers participants with real-world skills that can continue to be built upon, and provides advanced training that enables participants to start a job in cybersecurity in less than a year.
The program starts Sept. 8 with a SANS beginner-level Capture-the-Flag tournament then advances to the SANS CyberStart Game. Participants learn foundational security skills as they are introduced to topics such as Linux, web attacks and forensics. The top tiered scholars will be selected to take part in hands-on training in domains such as cyber defense, cloud, and incident handling as well as the testing process to achieve industry certifications from GIAC such as Foundational Security Technologies (GFACT), Security Essentials (GSEC), and Incident Handler (GCIH).
The 2022-2023 cohort recently concluded training and participants are currently pursuing their final certification. They will work with the career services team to hone their soft skills and secure jobs over the next 12 months. To date, 95% participants of the training scholarship have achieved SANS GIAC certification, a remarkable accomplishment that represents a success rate beyond the industry average, similar to past WiCyS cohorts. Within the last three years, the WiCyS Security Training Scholarship has impacted the cyber workforce by upskilling:
- Over 2,500 WiCyS members in beginner level CTF
- 612 CyberStart scholars
- 400 CyberGen.IQ aptitude assessments
- 121 Advanced Training Scholarships
Additionally, the scholarship has resulted in 100% career placement within 12 months of completion of the program. Some women in past cohorts are now employed at American Express, Apple, Amazon, Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, EY, Microsoft, Raytheon Technologies, Southwest Airlines and more.