During a meeting with reporters, Federal CIO Suzette Kent highlighted the successes of the Federal Cyber Reskilling Academy so far, and raised the potential of expanding the program in the future.

“Even when we started, people were like, “How are you going to find people that aren’t in the IT community?’ And we said that we think there are a lot of people who are interested. We also think there are a lot of people who have the capabilities,” said Kent after her speech at the ServiceNow Federal Summit on Monday.

She highlighted the success of the program’s application process, pointing to the over 1,500 non-IT people who applied for the program. Applicants then completed an assessment to see if their existing skillset lines up with the skills of the cyber defense analyst position. With the assessment phase now completed, the difficult process of selecting the 25 people who will be able to join the program is underway.

“We’re just bringing in all of the results, but even in the early returns…we have a high number of individuals who are qualifying in the success range,” Kent noted.

With the first cohort soon to be selected, Kent noted that they are aiming to move quickly and assess how the first pilot phase goes.

“The reason that we were trying to run this first pilot of 25 very quickly is that we want to go through the program, get the individuals out, and we actually want to place them at agencies–we already have some agencies that have already signed up–so we can have a full lifecycle of how they went through the process, and how they actually perform on the job for agencies. Our hope is when we run that second cohort, those individuals who were in that range and qualified and hopefully more support across agencies when they see the great outcomes, we can make the next cohort even larger than we originally planned,” she said.

Current IT professionals can look towards the second cohort as well. Kent noted that planned reskilling efforts include opportunities to learn robotic process automation engineering skills, and a course designed to support the Federal IT leaders of the future.

“We are going to look at what has come from this one, and determine if we need to make additional tweaks, or if we have the capacity to add to the program,” she noted.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.