Now in its 18th year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month, held every October, continues to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity across our Nation. Throughout October, the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation will highlight employers who participated in our inaugural 2021 Virtual Cybersecurity and IT Externship Rotation.

This experience was a structured two-week program, containing a cohort of participants from across Arizona with high school, community college, university, military, and non-traditional educational and workforce backgrounds. Each employer hosted a one-hour session with Q&A, exposing them to Arizona’s cybersecurity ecosystem and teaching them cybersecurity and IT-related topics, career pathways, and required skills. Employers also provided mentorship and feedback on the externs’ team research project. To ensure equity, our employers financially invested into the program, providing stipends for the externs. To learn more and watch some of the recorded sessions, please visit

Thank you to our employers who pioneered this program: CommonSpirit Health, eBacon, Freeport-McMoRan, Nationwide, PayPal, Salt River Project, Southwest Gas, and Zovio.

Thank you to our guest speakers and companies: Bensinger Consulting, Cloud Security Alliance, CompTIA, CVS Health, CyberKnights, ISACA-PHX, ISC(2)-PHX, Malcolm Harkins, Maricopa Community Colleges, SafeBreach, Splunk, Tim Roemer, and the State of Arizona. In 2022, we’ll be launching two externships, one IT-focused and the other Cybersecurity- focused. Our Cybersecurity Externship is March 7 – 18, 2022. Our IT Externship is March 28 – April 8. If you are an employer or applicant who wish you learn more, please feel free to contact me.

We know cybersecurity is a life-long, year round commitment that must be at the forefront of why and how we make decisions both in personal and professional lives That’s why we’ve partnered with several companies across Arizona through our industry-led Cybersecurity and IT Workforce Collaboratives. We identify workforce pain points and collaboratively build solutions to develop and enhance our tech talent pipeline. Now more than ever, with the recent attacks on our critical infrastructure and the widening cybersecurity talent gap, it’s imperative we build our much-needed workforce to effectively secure our nation’s infrastructure. The Foundation is hard at work to do this by fostering partnerships between government, industry, education institutions, and the general public.

Since 2015, the Foundation has been convening stakeholders quarterly to take up the call-to-action to make Arizona the premier state for cybersecurity. Led by employers, we developed as a one-stop resource for all-things cybersecurity workforce. We launched Apprenti Arizona to skill mid-level tech talent, a persistent pain point. We completed a curriculum alignment with the cybersecurity program at Estrella Mountain Community College, which was adopted by community colleges across the state. To prepare individuals early on, we launched the ElevateEdAZ Business Advisory Council, a consortium of companies that validated the state standards, competencies, and occupational titles for three high school Career and Technical Education Programs: Technology Devices Maintanance, Network Security, and Software and App Design. Most recently, we launched the Cybersecurity and IT Externship Rotation discussed earlier. There are also several initiatives in the pipeline including:

  • ACTIC (Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center) Tour for high school students during Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week (October 18 – 22)
  • Call-to-Action Cybersecurity Workforce Webinar
  • Development Committee to identify skills and competencies at each stage of the cybersecurity career (entry, mid, senior-level, and beyond)
  • Four-year Requirements Alignment

This month, especially, we ask that you join the conversation in promoting cybersecurity in Arizona using #AZCyberTalent. Share with us what you’ve been doing to ensure our state is cyber aware and cyber secure. And remember, cybersecurity is a life-long commitment that must be at the forefront of why and how we make decisions every day, year round. We look forward to engaging and partnering with you this month and beyond.

Ngan Pham
Workforce Development Manager
[email protected]



Posted by Annelise Patterson