Basic Information

What is the name of your organization?

Diversity Cyber Council

Is your organization registered as 501(c)(3) status with the IRS?


In what city, town, or region and state is your organization headquartered?

Atlanta, GA, USA

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address? [Select up to 2]

  • Employee advancement: Supporting employee career pathways through upskilling and reskilling employees, managing employee human resources, and mid-management or mid-career advancement.

What is the name of your solution?

Cybersecurity Workforce Development Apprenticeship

What is your solution?

The Cybersecurity Workforce Development Apprenticeship Program, registered with the US Department of Labor, was designed to administer a comprehensive cyber-related curriculum and paid-on-the-job training to diverse candidates to reinforce a path of equitable access to the cybersecurity workforce. Within the framework of this grant request, the program will be offered to candidates free of charge and target disadvantaged communities which include individuals from underrepresented minority communities, people with disabilities, and low-income participants (with a focus on woman and veterans) to teach them the skills to become cyber security professionals. 

Our educational program is an accelerated and immersive cyber security training that will include advanced technical training of hands-on cyber-related skills sought by employers and industry-recognized certifications. The apprenticeship program leverages content developed by industry-leading vendors to educate our trainees and prepare them for exam certification. After the completion of the program, we connect our program graduates with employers in our network in order to have our trainees placed at their companies/organizations for paid training; and potentially direct hire opportunities. This model is a win-win for both our trainees and the employers in our network, and is made possible through partnerships with technical schools, students, and technology companies throughout the city.

Our Cybersecurity Workforce Development Apprenticeship Program consists of three four-month phases of training that combine on-the-job training and instructor-led curriculum intended to build apprentice competency to successfully pass an industry-recognized certification exam at the end of each phase, namely the CompTIA IT Fundamentals, the CompTIA CySA+, and Security+ exams.

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

We leverage computers in order to further our mission.  At its core, almost every small business utilizes computers.  Training employees to keep those computers and systems safe is essential.  Research from Fortinet’s 2023 Cybersecurity Skills Gap Report reveals that 84% of organizations suffered from at least one data breach in the past 12 months due to a lack of cybersecurity talent or awareness.  These cyber risks have profound consequences on our personal privacy; national security; and the financial vitality of small businesses.

This shortage has imminent consequences; it is predicted that “[by] 2025, lack of talent or human failure will be responsible for over half of significant cyber incidents.”[1] Notably, one of the primary reasons for the cybersecurity staff shortage is that most cybersecurity candidates are not quite qualified for the job as measured by industry-recognized skillsets, certifications, and robust experience.[2] 



Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Software and Mobile Applications

Who does your solution serve, including demographics, and how does the solution impact their lives?

40% of organizations surveyed have indicated that they have had difficulty finding qualified candidates who are women, military veterans, or from minority backgrounds. Astonishingly, despite wide-spread and well-publicized commitments to diversity in the tech industry nationwide, Fortinet’s data illustrates that there was a mere 1% increase year-over-year in organizations hiring women (88% in 2021 and 89% in 2022) and minorities (67% in 2021 and 68% in 2022).

The work we do at Diversity Cyber Council is not only timely because it helps close the diversity and qualified employee gap within the cybersecurity sector; but, it also helps curb the number of people from vulnerable and marginalized populations who are unemployed or underemployed in low-wage jobs.  Although the Department of Labor reports seemingly optimistic statistics relating to the national unemployment rate, an Associated Press analysis of government data has found that minorities workers are chronically underrepresented in high-salary jobs and overrepresented in low-wage jobs that are often unstable.[1]

Within the framework of our proposed project, we would like to close the existing employment gaps in the cybersecurity sector by training people from disadvantaged and marginalized communities who are least likely to be represented in this sector (BIPOC youth, underrepresented ethnic minorities, women, youth with disabilities, low-income youth, and veterans).


Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.

Our organization directly aligns with the challenge's goal of supporting employee career pathways by teaching underrepresented minorities how to thrive in the cybersecurity sector. The graduates of the apprenticeship program will be empowered to apply for and obtain competitive positions in the market, especially positions within small businesses who may not have the funding or resources to offer robust in-house training. 

What is your theory of change?

The majority of the participants that have taken part in this program have gone on to obtain cyber security/technology-related positions. By establishing a diverse talent pipeline between apprentices and employers, we improve economic development for targeted communities and increase income opportunities for apprentices, starting at minimum wage and earning over 70k+ within a year.

In our pilot year, we were able to measure outcomes using the following metrics: total employers reached; total participants reached; total participants enrolled in apprenticeship activities; the total number of graduates that receive an interview for employment; the total number of graduates that receive employment offers. We have successfully served 124 participants in 2022.  80% of the individuals that participated in our programs have received positions within the cybersecurity industry following the completion of the program. 

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: an established product, service, or business model that is sustainable through proven effectiveness and is poised for further growth into additional communities.

What is your organization’s stage of development?

Growth: A registered 501(c)(3) organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth and has a proven track record with an annual operating budget
More About Your Solution

How do you define the community you serve, and who are its stakeholders?

We serve marginalized communities and people who would most likely benefit from the skillset that tech careers can offer. 

How do you build trust within the community your organization serves and among small business owners?

As a registered apprenticeship with the Department of Labor, our program is entitled to funding and incentives as provided by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA). The Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act covers a minimum of 300 hours in wage costs permitting employers who hire within our network without significant expense to them.  We are currently partnered with the following organizations: 

Partnership & Award Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to Truist Foundation Inspire Awards?

A partnership with Truist Foundation and MIT Solve will enable Diversity Cyber Council to further its mission. 

By securing funding, DCC will be able to implement marketing to strengthen our network, build out a training program with courses targeted at the most sought after skill sets and certifications, and begin our work of connecting our trainees directly with hiring organizations. We know that empowered people become dreamers and doers. Our hope is that by empowering individuals, we will empower the entire BIPOC community to seek out cybersecurity as a career option.  

The partnership will also help us connect with allies, stakeholders, and potential employers who are willing to partner with us and support the mission. 

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Financial (e.g. improving accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Public Relations (e.g. branding/marketing strategy, social and national media)

Please explain in more detail here.

In addition, to funding we need community support, publicity, and networking with likeminded professionals and entrepreneurs. 

Solution Team

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