Equity in Cybersecurity Training - A New Collaborative Pilot in Chicago

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Equity in Cybersecurity Training - A New Collaborative Pilot in Chicago
GCTC logo 344x80.png
Chicago Education
Team Organizations ISACA
City Tech Collaborative
Team Leaders Alisha Wenc
Participating Municipalities Chicago IL
Status Ready for Public Announcement
Document None


AnitaB.org and ISACA (the Information Systems Audit and Control Association), under the support of the Connect Chicago program, aim to create an accessible cybersecurity training program that can help close the skills gap. Out team will offer training and workforce opportunities for women in underrepresented communities in Chicago. Our program will take them through skills training in a cohort environment with mentorship, role models, and career advancement available. This pilot program is supported by the Connect Chicago Innovation Program, a fund managed by the City Tech Collaborative in partnership with philanthropy, industry, and the City of Chicago.


Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand and the need keeps growing. It is estimated that the United States alone has 35,000 open cybersecurity positions with expectations that the gap will widen globally to 3.5 million by 2021. Currently, women make up 20% of the cybersecurity workforce. In order to meet the demand for a skilled workforce, we need to increase the number of women getting into and staying in cybersecurity.


Women are missing out on a profession with relatively high wages, job security, and the opportunity for advancement in their careers. Our program seeks to address these issues by giving women the skills they need to take the next step in their career. We will introduce them to mentors and role models who can help them see what a cybersecurity career could look like for them. By getting and keeping women in cyber, we create a better workforce and a safer digital world for everyone.

Major Requirements

  1. AnitaB.org and ISACA’s SheLeadsTech program teamed up to create a training program including skills training and mentorship
  2. ISACA’s CSX Cybersecurity platform forms the basis of the hands-on training. Both organizations create wrap around services to help the women get and stay in the program.
  3. With the City Tech Collaborative, pull together a workshop of philanthropic leaders, industry mentors, City of Chicago representatives and advisors, and subject matter experts to discuss potential ideas, audiences, and the plan layout.
  4. Following the workshop, create the statement of work for the program.
  5. Engage investors and collaborators to put together a step by step plan for roll-out.
  6. Roll-out program.

Performance Targets

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Measurement Methods

Increase in income for women who entered our program Increase in community improvement/safety in cybersecurity

Survey 3, 6 and 9 months post program to track the women’s trajectory following the program.

Standards, Replicability, Scalability, and Sustainability

This program could be replicated globally. Both AnitaB.org and ISACA have a global footprint. We could look at scaling in terms of number of classes run, number of people in a class, and locations classes are held. We see this project as easily scalable and replicable. We also feel that many companies and organizations will have a vested interest in our success. With their help, we can make sure our students graduate from our program with the skills needed in their organizations. It creates a win/win for both groups – we get the funding we need to appropriately run our programming and they get the opportunity to hire well trained staff.

Cybersecurity and Privacy

As mentioned above, cybersecurity professionals are in short supply. By training women in cyber, we help increase the number of professionals and increase the diversity in the profession. We also create a group of cyber professionals in areas of the city that may not have them. They can become mentors and role models.


We expect this program to increase contributions to the tax base by increasing the salary and job security of the women in our program. We also expect it to positively impact the neighborhoods and households of the women by increasing their salary.


In early 2019, we hope to be finishing our marketing and cohort selection phase and close to entering the pilot of our program. We expect to have 4 concurrent Saturdays of class time followed by every other Saturday for 4 weeks. Students will come out with a CSX fundamentals certificate and a clear path to a CSX practitioner certification.