A little over four years ago a group of community leaders came together and presented an idea on how we can grow the regional workforce. These leaders included organizations like St. Louis Regional Chamber, Leadership Council of Southwestern Illinois, and Scott Air Force Base. The base was seeking a solution to their growing skills gap and a way to overcome hiring cleared personnel. There wasn’t an easy solution, but with the creation of CyberUp and a little bit of tenacity, collaboration, and community support we have a solution. With support from Boeing and the Scott Air Force Base Airman and Family Readiness Center, CyberUp has developed a pathway to help transitioning veterans begin a high paying career in cybersecurity.

On November 10th, CyberUp graduated 17 veterans and military spouses from our inaugural Veteran LevelUp Program. The program targeted veterans transitioning from active duty with 6 – 12 months left to their military commitment or active National Guard and Reservists. Participants received 6 months of free, virtual supported training by CyberUp. Their training will ramp up their technical and cybersecurity skills to CompTIA Security+. Upon completion of their training, veterans are eligible for apprenticeship placement services from CyberUp. Through placement at an employer partner of CyberUp, veterans will complete 2,000 hours as a paid apprentice and continue their technical skills training.

To build on the success of the first cohort, Boeing has invested in CyberUp again in 2020 to train 25 more veterans and military spouses in 2021. We will team up and support Scott Air Force Base who forecasted to have approximately 850 service members transition in 2020. This is the first step to attracting and training veterans in cybersecurity to stay in the St. Louis region. Veterans are highly sought after by local companies because of their commitment to mission and core values. “We have a tremendous amount of talent transitioning each year from our partners at the base. The more we can do to incentivize them to stay in our region will help fill our growing skills gap. I would like to personally grow this program to account for a minimum of 10% of the veterans transitioning each year. When we do this right, we can help other military communities through apprenticeship and training. The opportunities for both the veteran and the region,” Tony Bryan, Executive Director at CyberUp explains.

To learn more about the Veteran LevelUp Program, please visit CyberUp’s website at www.wecyberup.org/levelup-veterans. Information about the program, how to apply, and additional upcoming class details can be found there.