Enrollment for program is expected to begin in the fall. Image via Department of Homeland Security.

The San Diego Workforce Partnership Thursday announced a two-year, $1.5 million grant from the James Irvine Foundation to fund CyberHire San Diego, a movement aimed at increasing the number of unemployed, underemployed and low-wage workers in quality cybersecurity careers.

The San Diego-based workforce agency’s mission is to provide San Diegans with the tools, resources, education and access to mentorship to secure quality jobs and launch meaningful careers.

“We are extremely grateful to the James Irvine Foundation for its generous grant that will help the Workforce Partnership connect San Diegans to quality job opportunities in one of our region’s fastest-growing sectors,” said Peter Callstrom, the Workforce Partnership’s CEO.

“With so many cybersecurity jobs in the region and high unemployment due to COVID-19, it is imperative that all people in our communities have equal access to tools, resources, education and job opportunities to help them launch meaningful careers and provide for their families,” he said.

Enrollment for the program is expected to begin in the fall, with the grant in place through 2023. The grant will be earmarked for industry certification exam fees, intensive certification test preparation for participants and Workforce Partnership staff in program management.

“CyberHire San Diego leverages the Workforce Partnership’s position at the nexus of business, education and workers to connect the local cybersecurity industry with training providers,” said Donald J. Howard, the foundation’s president and CEO. “This is creating pathways to meaningful careers in a growing sector in San Diego and nationwide.”

According to CyberSeek — a site where cyber job seekers can received training and find work — the U.S. has a total employed cybersecurity workforce of nearly 925,000 and there are currently about 510,000 unfilled positions.

CyberSeek estimates San Diego has three times the cyber jobs expected in a county of its size, with nearly 9,000 openings from June 2019 to May 2020.