Project QUEST and Rackspace collaborate to train Veterans for cyber security jobs

Submitted by Rudy Arispe on September 9, 2016 - 1:34pm

A group of military veterans will participate in an intensive, 12-week Cyber Security Boot Camp beginning Sept. 12 at the Rackspace Open Cloud Academy to prepare them for careers in this high-demand job field.

The initiative is a collaboration between Project QUEST and Rackspace created from a $50,000 grant from the City of San Antonio and funds from the Department of Labor to establish a cyber security job training program for veterans. All program participants are required to have national security clearance, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or relevant IT experience, among other prerequisites.

“Because of partners like Rackspace, we are able to provide important cyber security training to our city’s veterans, and help meet the national demand to fill these jobs,” said Sister Pearl Ceasar, Project QUEST executive director. 

Cyber security job postings are growing at a rate of 97 percent in Texas, according to a 2014 market research report by Burning Glass Technologies. In addition, demand for individuals with cyber security training remains at an all-time high, as Burning Glass Technologies further reported that the demand is expected to grow by 53 percent through 2018. In other encouraging news for cyber security-trained veterans, San Antonio is now second after Washington, D.C., in having the most federal cyber security agencies and jobs.  

“According to the CyberTexas Foundation, San Antonio has the second-largest cyber security industry in the country, only following Washington D.C.,” said Deborah Carter, senior director of Open Cloud Academy. “With the launch of the Open Cloud Academy Cyber Security class, we are extending the academy’s reach into this rapidly growing local industry and hope to facilitate further expansion and cyber security talent development in San Antonio. We are excited to kick off the pilot program with the first class of veterans and look forward to continued collaboration with Project QUEST in the future.”

The curriculum includes Security Plus Training, Role Based System Administration, Security Wireless Networks, Ethical Hacking and Penetration Training, and Cloud Basics, among other classes.

Following completion of the Cyber Security Boot Camp, veterans will be placed in paid internships or paid full-time employment from January-March 2017 at partner employers, including Accenture, Def-Logix, IP Secure, Rackspace, USAA, VIA Metropolitan Transit, and Webhead.

“There’s no finer accelerated way to learn information technology fundamentals than through the Open Cloud Academy,” said Charles Rodriguez, 2015 OCA graduate and retired lieutenant general. “My experience in the OCA was hands-on, highly personalized and provided the necessary transferrable skills for a full-time job as a support technician at Rackspace following graduation.”

Funding and tuition assistance for the cyber security program is provided by Project QUEST, City of San Antonio, and a Department of Labor H1-B Information Technology grant. Other partners include the Texas Veterans Commission, Coley & Associates and the Veterans Economic Communities Initiative.

Project QUEST trains and prepares people for high-demand jobs that pay a family wage. Its strategy involves the following components: identification of demand occupations, outreach, recruitment, comprehensive applicant assessment, academic enhancement, occupational or customized skills training, case management, work readiness training, support services, and transition to employment services.

Participants receive their occupational training from accredited institutions including Alamo Colleges, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Baptist Health Systems School of Health Professions, and Rackspace Open Cloud Academy.

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