Future-Proofing Your Cybersecurity and IT Talent Development Strategy

By Katie Adams

In the space of only a few months, COVID-19 has accelerated virtually every organization’s approach to critical areas of operations. As seaports and their multimodal transportation, distribution and logistics (TDL) sector partners and tenants evaluate long-term investments required to ensure that personnel is safe to work they are also re-evaluating their approach to talent pipeline development. “COVID has revealed underlying weaknesses in many organizations’ abilities to quickly upskill incumbent workers and in their hiring strategies,” said Mary Beth Long, Vice President of Marketing & Workforce Development for AAPA. “The pandemic has forced ports and tenants to take a fresh look at their HR and workforce development approaches to ensure that new talent can be recruited, onboarded and able to contribute quickly to maintaining critical operations.”

One of the most fragile and yet critical area that ports and TDL employers are focusing on regarding talent development is cybersecurity. Achieving high freight throughput and overall productivity increasingly depends on the effectiveness and resilience of a ports’ information technologies and cybersecurity measures. Increasingly ports are aware that cyberspace is a domain like its physical assets that can be highly vulnerable to threats.

Through the nearly $6 million “Closing the Skills Grant” apprenticeship grant that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) awarded to AAPA, the ACCELerate Apprenticeship (“ACCELerate”) initiative is focused on helping employers develop sustainable apprenticeship-based training programs in key occupations including cybersecurity and IT professional roles.

“We are able to provide ports and their tenants with proven models of competency-based training and education for these critically-needed occupations,” said Barbara Murray, Executive Director of ACCELerate Apprenticeship. “Our technical expertise in apprenticeship and partnerships with nationally-recognized institutions of higher education provide partner employers with the ability to create customized programs to meet their unique cybersecurity and IT needs.”

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