Cal Poly to launch cybersecurity workforce development initiative

Cal Poly's “Cleared for Success" program is an attempt to cultivate a talent pipeline in the public service and defense sectors.
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California Polytechnic State University is preparing to launch a cybersecurity workforce development initiative in an attempt to cultivate a talent pipeline of highly skilled students into careers in the public service and defense sectors.

The program, dubbed “Cleared for Success,” will be hosted by the California Cybersecurity Institute at Cal Poly and will introduce students from the university’s computing and engineering colleges to foundational security concepts. Students are also expected to have access to internships, apprenticeships and networking opportunities to help jumpstart their future careers. 

“This program will provide students with an unprecedented learn-by-doing opportunity as they collaborate with industry leaders on real-world projects in the field,” Bill Britton, Cal Poly’s vice president for information technology, chief information officer, and director of the California Cybersecurity Institute, said in a press release. “Cybersecurity has become the frontline of national defense, and cyberthreats are rapidly evolving to incorporate emerging trends such as generative AI.”

Nationally, the growth of the cybersecurity field is growing at a pace that is outpacing the volume of the workforce, according to an analysis by Drata, a security and compliance automation software company.


“This partnership is a unique opportunity for the university and a watershed moment for experiential learning,” Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong said in the release. “The cutting-edge work students will engage in will redefine the landscape and has the potential to attract new investment that will accelerate the speed of innovation at the state and national levels.”

Cal Poly leaders said they hope one day to expand the program to support workforces for other industries, such as aerospace engineering, public health and energy.

The “Cleared for Success” program and has so far received $1 million in foundational philanthropic funding, according to the release.

Skylar Rispens

Written by Skylar Rispens

Skylar Rispens is a reporter for StateScoop and EdScoop. She previously worked as a reporter specializing in education coverage for daily and weekly newspapers across Montana, where she currently resides.

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