White House Increases Focus on Skills-Based Hiring to Tackle Cybersecurity Talent Shortage – ClearanceJobs

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The White House is tackling the critical shortage of cybersecurity professionals by shifting toward skills-based hiring. With nearly 500,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs across the country, the move aims to open up IT and cyber roles to a wider range of applicants. White House officials have committed to using skills-based hiring for most federal IT jobs, with the Office of Personnel Management leading the effort to transition nearly 100,000 federal cyber and IT jobs to this approach by next summer. The Energy Department is also leading a corresponding initiative to move federal IT contracts to skills-based hiring.

Former Federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent emphasized the urgent need for more technical talent across the board. “We have to find talent and skill talent at a pace that matches the pace of evolving technology,” she said. One of the significant challenges in cyber hiring has been the expectation for “unicorns”—candidates who possess a multitude of specific skills and experience. A new report from SANS recommends that employers identify the specific cyber skills they need in each position and then invest more in hands-on training. Leidos, one of the federal government’s biggest technology contractors, has been highlighted as a case study in the SANS report. The company has adopted several strategies to improve cyber hiring, including looking for candidates who meet 80% of the must-have requirements and addressing the remaining 20% through training. They are also developing a degree equivalency matrix that will substitute certifications, skills, training, or experience for a four-year college degree, opening cybersecurity roles to individuals with the right potential and skills, even if they don’t follow a traditional education path.

Layoffs: Boeing

Boeing’s Huntsville, Alabama, Defense, Space & Security facility is set to lay off 128 workers starting June 28. The layoffs, affecting programs like the Space Launch System (SLS), come as the company navigates external decisions impacting its operations. The Alabama Boeing campus, home to over 3,000 employees, has played a pivotal role in U.S. missile and space system programs for over 60 years. The company is exploring alternative placement opportunities for impacted employees.

Hiring: Lockheed

Lockheed Martin hosted a recruiting event in Fort Smith, AR, aiming to fill more than 80 job openings, including roles such as F-35 Aircraft Maintenance, Aircraft and Support Systems IT, Quality & Safety Support, Supply & Support Equipment, and Security. The event attracted hundreds of applicants, with Lockheed Martin planning to make same-day hiring decisions. Shamar Davis, one of the applicants, expressed confidence in his interview, emphasizing the company’s reputation and his passion for his field.

Cleared Employer at Work: Booz Allen

At Booz Allen, you can deliver technology at the heart of critical defense missions. Work with us to accelerate warfighter solutions. Accelerate the future. Defend with us.

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Opportunity to Watch

In August 2023, the Department of Defense launched the 2040 Task Force (D2T) innovation challenge, aiming to revolutionize talent management by recruiting, retaining, and promoting a diverse workforce. Over 200 innovative ideas poured in from Service members and civilians globally, with nine ideas emerging as winners. These ideas, ranging from equitable talent management using Artificial Intelligence to competency development through gaming, were presented to top DoD officials. “The Innovation Challenge contestants’ creativity, passion, and dedication to the Department and our nation are an important part of our combined efforts,” said Ashish S. Vazirani, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Ronald Keohane, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, emphasized the longevity of the programs and the importance of the pathway continuing. While only a handful of ideas made it to the end, each submission helped the DoD better understand talent management challenges, with plans to use all the ideas submitted to focus future talent management work. Through this challenge and future ones, the DoD aims to drive real change in its talent management practices, starting with the innovative ideas shared by its talented workforce.

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