White House Officials Highlight Cyber Job Opportunities

White House Officials Highlight Cyber Job Opportunities

By Sam Boykin

A&M-San Antonio recently hosted the White House Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) for a special event about cybersecurity and cyber workforce opportunities and challenges. The ONCD advises the President of the United States on cybersecurity policy and strategy, working to advance national security, economic prosperity, and technological innovation.  

Special guests included Acting Principal Deputy National Cyber Director Jake Braun, who discussed expanding the cyber workforce pipeline. Braun previously served as Senior Counselor for Transformation to the Secretary of Homeland Security. 

Texas A&M University-San Antonio is one of nine Hispanic-Serving Institutions designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity by the National Security Agency. Braun’s visit to A&M-San Antonio was part of the ONCD’s National Cyber Workforce Education Roadshow.

“A&M-San Antonio is one of the region’s leaders in cyber education and research, with innovative and affordable undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as the NSA/DHS CDE certificate,” said Dr. Jeong Yang, Director of the Center of Information Technology & Cyber Security. “These programs prepare our students for in-demand careers in computer science, cyber security and information systems.”

The ONCD event got underway with a cyber stakeholder roundtable, featuring representatives from the region’s top businesses, nonprofits, and educational institutions. Discussions focused on how to grow and sustain the region’s cyber workforce. Braun also held a listening session with University students to learn about their experiences in cyber education and the opportunities and challenges they’ve faced in joining the cyber workforce. 

The visit culminated in a “Tech Fiesta,” with a roundtable discussion featuring representatives from the Cyber Education and Training Assistance Program, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Security Agency, Texas. The panelists discussed their roles in the San Antonio cyber ecosystem and offered tips for students.

“We’ve learned so much here about what’s working, and we’re going to take that back to DC and amplify your achievements,” said Braun, who added that the federal government is responding to the challenge of filling good-paying cyber jobs, including over 36,000 vacancies in Texas, with 4,500 openings in the San Antonio area. 

“We are honored that the ONCD chose to hold this informative and educational event at A&M-San Antonio,” said Dr. Mohamed Abdelrahman, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “It demonstrates the University’s growing role in ‘Cyber City USA’ and how we are not just educating students, but also strengthening the region’s cyber workforce with ready-to-hire graduates.”

The event was a collaboration between the Mays Center for Experiential Learning and Community Engagement and the Center of Information Technology & Cyber Security, both of which work with employers to provide internships and employment for students, said Dr. Adriana Contreras, Associate Vice President and Executive Director of the Mays Center.

“Providing an opportunity for employers and students to network around the topic of cyber security and technology was beneficial and advantageous as together we work to fill the 4,500 job vacancies in San Antonio,” Contreras said. “Having the ONCD here to help set the context and facilitate the conversation between almost 50 partners in this space advances the narrative in a consequential way.”

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