AFCEA International Chapter News

Alamo Answers Call to Steer Young Workforce

Chapter members have reason to be concerned by a recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security study on cybersecurity. According to the 2012 Information Technology Workforce Assessment for Cybersecurity (ITWAC), which surveyed nearly 23,000 employees across 52 federal departments and agencies, some 80 percent of the cyber work force is currently older than 40, while only 5 percent are younger than 30. Those statistics, if unaddressed, signal stiff challenges for outfits like the 24th Air Force, the National Security Agency and others in San Antonio that seek highly skilled, experienced cyber workers to sustain current missions and counter evolving threats. The chapter and other San Antonio nonprofits are doing their part to build a pipeline of students to help meet the demand for cyber and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs in the coming years. In April, several AFCEA members participated in “Women in IT,” a luncheon connecting women in the information technology (IT) industry with junior high and high school girls participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition and the FIRST Tech Challenge at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center. Maj. Gen. Suzanne Vautrinot, USAF, 24th Air Force commander, shared encouragement and insights into the cyber realm with the students. Mentors also counseled the girls about how their current projects fit into the larger IT world, the kinds of IT career paths available to them and what types of additional education and training might be required in chosen professions. “There are so many great internship and career opportunities for women who excel in STEM-related studies. On average, they will earn 33 percent more than their counterparts in other fields,” said Sharon O'Malley Burg, an AFCEAN and member of the San Antonio Women in Technology organization, which organized the luncheon. “Dedicated mentors who inspire and sponsor students as they progress throughout their K-20 education are able to positively impact the quality of their lives and San Antonio's work force.” Meanwhile, Young AFCEA has progressed in efforts to stand up the first student chapter at the University of Texas-San Antonio. Some 25 students signed on at the first membership drive event in March, and given growing enrollment at UTSA's Institute for Cyber Security, the chapter hopes to grow that number by 50 percent by the end of the 2013 school year. Additionally, the chapter has taken steps to establish its first internship as well. Among other opportunities, the internship is expected to broaden AFCEA's social media footprint in San Antonio—an essential element in reaching students and future AFCEANs and cyber workers. To this end, the chapter has made a strategic effort to increase the number of posts to its official website and to Young AFCEANs' LinkedIn and Facebook pages. Social media will play an increasingly prominent role in marketing for the Alamo ACE (annual chapter event) scheduled for November as well.

For more details regarding this event contact:
Marla Dial

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