Program

Why should I join the Cybersecurity Talent Initiative?

Entry-level cybersecurity talent can gain unparalleled work and professional experience through the cross-sector Cybersecurity Talent Initiative.

The Cybersecurity Talent Initiative consists of two parts:

  • Participants will complete a two-year placement with a partnering federal agency.
  • Prior to completing two years of government service, participants will be invited to apply for full-time positions with program sponsors and if selected, complete a two-year placement with a participating private sector company.

Employment terms are based on performance, business needs and other relevant factors. If offered a position, participants will start after completing their federal placement.

How do I receive student loan assistance?

Participants are expected to complete two years of federal service before candidates have the opportunity to apply to one of our private sector partners. If selected for a role, participants must also complete two years of employment with one of the participating private sector companies in order to receive loan assistance. Specific terms for required length of service with private sector companies may vary by company.

What professional development training and mentorship will I receive during the two-year program?

You will participate in a kickoff orientation to introduce the professional development program, and you will participate in quarterly professional development and leadership training sessions so you can discover innovative best practices across industries. You will build a strong network of future cybersecurity leaders and engage with public and private sector cybersecurity experts. You also will be matched with an industry mentor from the government or the private sector.

How will the professional development courses be held?

Professional development training sessions will be held virtually with potential opportunities for in-person events in the Washington, D.C. area.

Where are the federal jobs located?

Most positions are in the Washington, D.C. area. Some agencies may have positions available in locations such as California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Georgia and other states.

If I need to relocate, are housing or relocation expenses provided?

Housing or relocation benefits may vary based on the employer. Relocation costs are not typically covered by the federal government.

Does the two-year federal placement include pay and benefits?

Yes. The annual salary will be commensurate with the participant’s qualifications and experience. Salary and benefits are covered by the employing federal agency. Starting salaries for designated program positions may vary depending on the level of education, professional experience and the location of the employing agency. In the Washington, D.C. locality area, starting salaries may range from $50,643 to $74,950. For more information on the federal pay system, visit the Office of Personnel Management’s website.

What happens after I complete my two-year federal placement?

Prior to completion of your two-year federal placement, you will be invited to apply for positions with the participating private sector organizations or you may be able to continue your government service at the agreement of your federal agency. Please note that the student loan repayment opportunity, as outlined by the program, only applies to those who are selected for a role with one of CTI’s private sector partners.

How will participants learn about private sector job opportunities?

Throughout the program, participants will connect with representatives from the corporate partners who can inform them of future employment opportunities. During the spring of participants second year in government, there will be a formal session to learn about specific job openings with the corporate partners.

If I apply for a job with one of the corporate partners, am I guaranteed to receive it?

No. However, each company will provide networking opportunities and share available positions with participants.

Can I apply to multiple private sector companies?

Yes.

If I continue in government after my initial two-year placement and do not proceed to the private sector part of the program, am I still eligible for student loan assistance through the program?

To receive student loan assistance, you must complete your two-year federal placement and then be hired by one of the private sector companies affiliated with the program. Those who continue their government service beyond two years will not be eligible for student loan assistance through this program; however, government may have tools to provide loan benefits.

Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligibility requirements (2022 Application Year):

  • U.S. citizenship at the time of application submission
  • Superior academic achievement
  • Completion of cyber- related major degree (for example, computer science, engineering, information science and mathematics) from an accredited educational institution within the timeframe January 2021- August 2023
Will I need a security clearance? How is it obtained?

Background investigation and security clearance requirements may vary by agency and position. Agencies will support selected candidates throughout the investigation process. For more guidance, see information from the National Background Investigations Bureau.

Application

What application materials must I provide?

In addition to your personal information, you must also submit unofficial copies of all undergraduate or graduate level transcripts; a current resume; an endorsement form (which can also be found in the application) completed by an academic or professional contact, such as a faculty member or supervisor familiar with your technical qualifications in cybersecurity; responses to a series of short essay questions; and documentation of veteran status, if applicable.

How are application materials evaluated?

While strong academic performance will be considered, participants will be evaluated on a number of factors, including leadership qualities and technical qualifications. Agencies may consider additional factors when making final selections.

Is there an application fee?

No.

While completing my application online, may I close out and return to it?

Yes, the online application can be saved and returned to later. If you submit more than one application before the closing date, we will only review the most recent submission.

How and when will I know if I’m accepted? When does the program start?

Agencies will extend job offers by spring 2023 that are conditional upon completion of degree requirements and successful completion of security clearance procedures. You also will receive an email from the Partnership for Public Service notifying you of your acceptance. While start dates may vary by agency, most participants should expect to start in either the summer or fall of 2023.

How can I check the status of my application?

You will receive email updates throughout the application process. You may also email [email protected] for inquiries.

Will I be expected to participate in an interview? How long does the entire interviewing process take and is travel required?

Yes, interviews for semi-finalists will take place November – December. Finalists may be invited to participate in in-person, virtual or phone interviews directly from the agency.

Does my veteran’s status provide preference? If so, how should I highlight my status on the application?

According to federal regulations, agencies must apply veterans’ preference as part of the application process. Applicants with veterans’ preference should submit a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD 214) with application materials. For additional information on veterans’ preference, visit Feds Hire Vets.

Corporate Partners

How are the corporate partners engaged throughout the program?

Corporate partners will participate in virtual and potentially in-person recruitment activities and serve as mentors to program participants. They may also lead leadership development seminars, host networking events and serve as keynote speakers or panelists during quarterly development sessions.

Additional Questions

What is the Partnership’s role in this program?

The Partnership, in coordination with agency and corporate partners, will manage the program and:

  • Recruit top cybersecurity talent by tapping into its strategic relationships with colleges and universities
  • Manage and oversee the application process and ensure applicants meet program requirements
  • Provide comprehensive professional and leadership development opportunities and convene program participants for training, mentoring and relationship building throughout their federal government experience
How is the program funded?

The program administration is funded by corporate partners, including Mastercard, Microsoft, Workday and Accenture. Salaries and benefits are provided by federal agencies.

How can federal agencies participate in this program?

Federal agencies interested in participating in this program can find additional guidance on our agency page.