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ConnectWise & CompTIA Announce New Training Program as Part of Biden Administration's Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint

ConnectWise & CompTIA Announce New Training Program as Part of Biden Administration's Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint

ConnectWise and CompTIA have launched a new effort to expand the nation's cybersecurity and technology workforce through paid apprenticeships.

ConnectWise and CompTIA made their announcement in conjunction with today's Cyber Workforce and Education Summit at the White House, where Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh unveiled a Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint, challenging industry and labor partners to help expand registered apprenticeships in cybersecurity.

The crux of the effort announced by the two organizations involves pairing new IT professionals, certified by CompTIA, with eager IT businesses, self-identified through the ConnectWise partner community, for registered apprenticeships.

"We focus so much on top-level cybersecurity experts that we forget the majority of this work is done by rank-and-file cyberprofessionals," said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO, CompTIA, who participated in the White House summit. "They work with end users, maintain and secure networks, and defend against phishing and other threats to keep everyone and everything working securely. It is with these frontline positions where the most sizable staffing deficits exist, something we intend to address with this program."

"We have thousands of partners across the IT industry who regularly tell us about the challenges of finding qualified talent," said Jason Magee, CEO, ConnectWise. "With the backing of the White House, and in partnership with CompTIA as an established educator of IT professionals, we have a unique opportunity to move hiring forward by matching trained workers with a robust group of potential employers."

The apprenticeship effort comes at a time when demand is soaring for technology workers generally and cybersecurity workers, specifically.

U.S. employers deployed 714,548 job postings for cybersecurity job roles and skills during the 12-month period running through April 2022, according to data from CyberSeek, a joint initiative between the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), CompTIA and Lightcast. Almost 40% of those job postings were listed in the first four months of 2022, indicating that demand is speeding up as more organizations look to strengthen defenses against a multitude of threats.

As a newly designated National Program Sponsor for Apprenticeship, CompTIA will use its education, training and certifications to equip apprentices with the skills and training needed for employment in technology occupations, including cybersecurity roles. More than 3.1 million CompTIA certifications are held by IT professionals around the world.

ConnectWise, through its extensive network of IT service providers, is the employer partner in the new apprenticeship initiative. These service providers deliver technology solutions and support to small, mid-sized and large customers in all industries and locales, placing them on the front line of cybersecurity and support for businesses. Dozens of service providers have already expressed interest in participating in the apprenticeship program.

CompTIA and ConnectWise will offer training, certification and employment opportunities in five high-demand tech occupations: tech support specialist, network support specialist, cybersecurity support technician, tech project coordinator and data analyst. Training is based on National Guideline Standards created by CompTIA and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL). These standards detail the competencies in technical and employability skills that apprentices need to join the IT workforce.

"The ability to anticipate, identify and respond to cyberthreats is essential in each of these job roles," said Amy Kardel, senior vice president for strategic workforce partnerships, CompTIA. "Apprentices will receive comprehensive cybersecurity training in the knowledge and skills they will need to protect American businesses."

Additional details of the program will be shared later this year.

Today's announcement expands CompTIA's involvement with IT apprenticeships. Since 2020 CompTIA has partnered with the American Institutes for Research to grow the nation's IT workforce across industries through apprenticeships, while simultaneously creating career opportunities for diverse populations underrepresented in the tech workforce, including women, individuals with disabilities and people of color.

In other news, ConnectWise has announced that CRN has chosen Ophelia Clarke, manager of partner success, to its 2022 Rising Female Stars list. This annual list honors 100 up-and-coming, dedicated, driven women who are leaving their mark and making a difference for solution providers throughout the IT channel.

Featuring a powerhouse list of nominees hand-selected by the CRN editorial team based in large part on the recommendations from channel chiefs and other channel management executives across the industry, this third-annual list of Rising Female Stars represents extraordinary women who are working hard to help their channel partners find success. These IT channel standouts demonstrate an aptitude for growing their respective channel partner programs and initiatives through a variety of disciplines, including marketing, channel program management and partner engagement, to name a few.

Clarke is credited with expanding ConnectWise's Strategic Partner Program to more than 500 partners. Her accomplishments include identifying potential partners and collaborating with key stakeholders across the organization to help address their needs, improve their experience and empower them for success. Additionally, she spearheaded an outcome-based business review initiative for high-touch partners in the United States, which helped ensure they were deriving maximum value out of their recurring meetings with success managers.

"Ophelia represents the pinnacle of what it means to provide our partners with a great experience and to ensure they have all the resources they need to increase profitability, success and performance on a consistent basis," said Geoffrey Willison, COO, ConnectWise. "It is a privilege to have her on our team and we are thrilled that she has received this well-deserved honor."

"CRN's 2022 Rising Female Stars list highlights the women poised to become tomorrow's channel leaders and luminaries who consistently demonstrate dedication to IT channel innovation and excellence," said Blaine Raddon, CEO, The Channel Company. "All of these women are helping to create a brighter future for the IT industry. On behalf of The Channel Company and CRN, I want to congratulate all of the honorees. The change these rising leaders are helping to enact today will define the IT channel for many years to come."

The 2022 list of Rising Female Stars will be featured online starting July 25 and in a special July issue of CRN Magazine.

In other news, ConnectWise has announced that at this year's IT Nation Connect 2022, it will be recognizing several partners who are achieving their most ambitious vision of success at ConnectWise's inaugural WISE Awards.  

Award recipients will get bragging rights, will be celebrated in a special session with ConnectWise's executive team at IT Nation Connect, and will enjoy all sorts of visibility, promotional support and more.  

This annual partner awards program will recognize eight ConnectWise partners across the following categories, based on their adoption and use of the ConnectWise portfolio over the past year:  

  • All-In Partner of the Year: Awarded to the partner company that strategically uses the most comprehensive selection of ConnectWise portfolio of solutions and services.
  • Business Management Partners of the Year: Awarded to the partner company finding success through ConnectWise business management solutions.
  • Unified Monitoring and Management Partners of the Year: Awarded to the partner company finding success through ConnectWise unified monitoring & management solutions.
  • Cybersecurity Partners of the Year: Awarded to the partner company finding success through ConnectWise cybersecurity management solutions.
  • Ecosystem Partner of the Year: Awarded to the partner company leveraging the most third-party solutions through the ConnectWise marketplace.
  • IT Nation Partner of the Year: Awarded to the most engaged member of the IT Nation community.
  • Partner Referral Award: Awarded to the partner company that has provided the most successful referrals to ConnectWise.
  • ConnectWise Community Giveback Award: A $10,000 philanthropic acceleration award from the ConnectWise Foundation, presented to the partner company demonstrating a powerful impact in its local community through either philanthropic and community service efforts, or in creatively helping local businesses bring meaningful, positive change in their communities.  

During IT Nation Connect 2022, ConnectWise will also be recognizing one of its top ConnectWise advocates with the annual Evolve Award winners and its IT Nation Connect Solution Pavilion Award winners. If you are an active ConnectWise partner, you are automatically entered to win (with the exception of the ConnectWise Community Giveback Award, which requires nomination).  

To learn more about the WISE Awards, including what is included in the winners' packages, check out the WISE Awards page. For details on how to nominate your company or a peer's company for the Community Give Back Award, please visit the nomination form.  

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