(ISC)2, which helps train and certify thousands of organizations and individuals around the world every year, rolled out a trio of new programs Thursday. (Image credit: skynesher via Getty)

One of the world’s largest IT security organizations has announced the kick off of three new initiatives focused on boosting the cyber workforce, including a plan initially unveiled at a White House summit that plans to certify one million people for entry-level cybersecurity skills.

(ISC)2, a nonprofit which helps train and certify thousands of organizations and individuals around the world every year, rolled out a trio of new programs Thursday. One is a new entry-level cybersecurity certification exam that tests a candidate’s proficiency in basic security principles, access controls, network security, security operations and business continuity, disaster recovery and incident response.

According to the (ISC)2, more than 1,500 individuals have already passed the exam and are working towards full membership.

Clar Rosso, the organization’s CEO, told SC Media in August that the program is geared towards individuals new to the field or from diverse backgrounds and is designed to help them answer the question “is this for me?”

“Remove the scariness of the technical side of the profession, because it covers all the basic domains, so it has value there, and at the same time it has value for employers because as they’re assessing individuals they can say: ‘Alright, this person has all these great non-technical skills, but are they worth investing in?’” for deeper technical capabilities, Rosso said.

The second initiative involves a pledge (ISC)2 made during the White House summit, which is to enroll and process one million people through its entry level program for free. Half of that investment, including 500,000 course enrollments and exams, will be steered towards Historically Black Colleges and Universities, minority serving institutions, tribal organizations and women’s organizations.

It was one of a range of programs announced by organizations following a meeting with the WhIte House, including (among others) the Alperovitch Institute for Cybersecurity Study, which will develop cybersecurity policy trainings for post-graduate students and policymakers; Cisco, which pledged to train 200,000 students through its Cisco Networking Academy over the next three years; and the Linux Foundation, which will offer free secure software development trainings.  

Rosso said to achieve their inclusion goals the organization has been “actively reaching out to organizations that represent these underserved communities and [asking] how can we work together?”

“It gave us this chance to deepen our commitment and put skin in this game, and we said, alright: one million in cybersecurity globally," she said. "And our goal is to achieve that over the next couple of years, maybe faster."

The third initiative announced involves is (ISC)2 Candidates, a program that gives enrollees access to discounted courses, conferences and self-study materials.