The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) onboarded over 300 new cybersecurity employees, and made an additional 500 tentative job offers, during its 60-day Cybersecurity Workforce Sprint, exceeding the sprint’s original goal by 50 percent.

In early May, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas set a goal to hire 200 cybersecurity employees by July 1, but by exceeding the goal, the Cybersecurity Workforce Sprint was hailed as the agency’s largest cybersecurity hiring initiative in its history.

“As cybersecurity threats to our communities continue to rise, we must recruit and retain diverse top talent to defend against today’s threats and build a more resilient future,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “DHS is dedicating significant energy toward exceeding our cybersecurity hiring goal by recruiting talented experts, investing in diverse talent pipelines, and ensuring equitable access to professional development opportunities at every level.”

“The department’s 60-day Cybersecurity Workforce Sprint has enabled DHS to fill 12 percent of our more than 2,000 cybersecurity vacancies during a time when our country is facing extraordinary cyber threats,” he added. “While I am proud of the progress we have made to date, we still have more work to do.”

According to a DHS press release, Mayorkas will launch an Honors Program this month, allowing recent college graduates with cybersecurity or cyber-related degrees, to partake in a year-long professional development program at DHS. Those who complete the program will then be eligible for a full-time cybersecurity job at the agency.

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Additionally, DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is expanding its K-12 initiative “to cultivate the next generation of diverse cybersecurity professionals.” The agency recently hosted over 40 professional development events, reaching more than 1,500 K-12 educators, to help incorporate cybersecurity concepts into their curriculum.

Mayorkas announced DHS’s series of 60-day focused cybersecurity sprints on March 31, in an effort to bolster Federal cybersecurity efforts and implement Biden-Harris administration priorities. The Cybersecurity Workforce Sprint was the second sprint of the six-part series, with the first one focused on ransomware.

The next 60-day cybersecurity sprint for DHS throughout July and August will be the Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Initiative. This sprint will focus on taking action to improve the resilience and security of industrial control systems.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.