AT&T Leads Initiative to Train Veterans to Fight Cybercrime, Protect U.S. Data Infrastructure
AT&T has teamed up with NPower to augment its curriculum to help train military veterans and their families for careers in the fast-growing cybersecurity field.
By Quincy Preston, Dallas Innovates, May 18, 2020 (source)
Virtually overnight, businesses had to move to a remote workforce in the pandemic. With the increased number of people adapting to that digital transformation comes a greater need to keep the critical online infrastructure safe.
AT&T wants to help protect our data infrastructure and, at the same time, support military veterans and their families with a new initiative to train them for careers in cybersecurity. In an expanded collaboration with national nonprofit NPower, the Dallas-based telecommunications giant will contribute $200,000 to a program to do just that, the company announced.
AT&T previously has worked with NPower, which specializes in IT technology training for veterans and their families in underserved communities. In help them prepare for successful careers in cybersecurity, AT&T worked with the nonprofit educator to tailor and augment its curriculum.
Cybersecurity is a field that offers opportunities. Employment prospects for information security analysts continue to grow much faster than all other occupations across the country, AT&T said, citing analysis from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
With more people using digital communication to stay connected to corporate networks and the internet from home, we need more cybersecurity professionals who can lead the fight against cybercrime, said Roger Thornton, VP, Products and Technology, AT&T Cybersecurity.
“Military veterans are perfect candidates for these positions because they already have many of the technical skills required for a career in information technology,” Thornton said in a statement. “At AT&T, we’re proud to employ a large number of military veterans, and we are pleased to be working with NPower to prepare even more veterans for a rewarding career that will allow them to help protect our critical digital infrastructure.”
Last year, AT&T reached its goal to hire 20,000 veterans by 2020—ahead of schedule. Now the company is working to identify new opportunities for veterans “so that they can continue to succeed in a variety of industries and jobs, including cybersecurity-related careers,” AT&T said.
The NPower curriculum covers security and cloud architecture, how to diagnose networks, manage operating systems, and use security tools to address vulnerabilities and threats. Students also have an opportunity to earn both CompTIA Security+ and Linux+ certifications.
AT&T says its contribution to NPower will support 25 veterans and military spouses in receiving the skills necessary to succeed in jobs of the future.
NPower is grateful for the support, said Russ Medina, Executive Director of NPower Texas and US Army (RET). Medina says the effort will eventually provide an important pipeline of dedicated professionals to help protect people and businesses from growing cyber threats.
“This contribution will allow us to continue to offer state-of-the-art cyber certification programs to make sure our veterans and military spouses receive the best possible training for a successful career in information security,” Medina said.
NPower in North Texas
NPower aims to move people from poverty to the middle class. And, since 2013, the organization has served the North Texas region to increase the pool of tech talent through training. That helps people and also increases the competitiveness of businesses here, the organization notes.
NPower’s North Texas program is located at Dallas County Community College’s Bill J. Priest Small Business Innovation Center.
Acccording to the nonprofit, the Dallas area is home to the fifth-largest tech labor force and one of the fastest-growing digital hubs in the country. NPower North Texas wants to help the region’s more than 400,000 veterans and their spouses who are underemployed. The organization says it can help them adapt to the specialized workforce that technology needs.
By offering a range of tuition-free tech training and the needed certifications, NPower Texas says its programs are an alternative “fast-track to tech jobs” with employers who are committed to hiring diverse IT talent. Some 80 percent of NPower graduates get a full-time job or continue their education, according to NPower.
NPower also provides individual support in areas like networking, mentorship, social services, job placement, and transit assistance.
AT&T supports programs like NPower that offer skills-building opportunities and support to veterans and their family members, it said. The nonprofit’s overall program also is supported by a grant from the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans’ Assistance.