Through our work for the U.S. government, we are enabling citizens to match their abilities and interests to education and in-demand careers. Whether by harnessing technology to improve access to opportunities, or reimagining technical training for our own employees, our commitment to creating a more secure, resilient, and equitable future for all is embedded in this work that affects the futures of families, communities, and our nation.Katie Hermosilla, Senior Vice President, Booz Allen
In the U.S., hundreds of thousands of mission-critical technology jobs remain unfilled, particularly in high-demand areas like cybersecurity, cloud computing, and software development. This talent gap is a critical issue for the U.S. government and private industry—including federal contractors—and it requires new hiring approaches and job training solutions in order to bring more people into the nation's technology workforce.
Innovation in these fields moves fast. The cyber, cloud, and AI coursework taught in colleges today may not be what professionals need four years from now—or even next year. Skills, knowledge, and experience may be more relevant to job performance. Fewer people are pursuing four-year degrees, which have become out of reach for too many. Four-year degree job requirements (the paper ceiling) can create unnecessary obstacles between people and technology jobs. Focusing on outcomes and embracing more flexible degree and skill requirements for certain roles are two ways to close the technical talent gap.
The private sector has increased hiring of individuals with skills-based training and certifications in lieu of degrees, and the federal workforce is moving toward adopting this approach as well. For example, the federal government has increasingly recognized the importance of "non-traditional" routes like Registered Apprenticeship (RA) to upskill and reskill the nation's workers in high-growth sectors like cybersecurity, information technology, and advanced manufacturing.
Through our multiyear support to the Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship (OA), we have been part of expanding the U.S. RA system to serve 1 million active apprentices each year. Booz Allen developed Apprenticeship.gov to address information gaps preventing employers from exploring and formally registering their program with the Department of Labor. The site leverages machine learning to enable career seekers to search for apprenticeship opportunities across the country—the first and only job finder tool with this capability. In addition, the Partner Finder tool aggregates internal data sources to help employers find education and other partners that are necessary to creating and sustaining new apprenticeship programs.
At the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), we worked with VA to design and secure approval for the first-ever federal civilian agency Cyber Registered Apprenticeship program. Launched in October 2023, the two-year rotational apprenticeship program from GS-9 to GS-11 for veterans aims to increase pathways of entrance into cybersecurity through a sustained pipeline of critical talent.
We are also keeping our own approaches to finding and developing technical talent fresh. When recruiting, we proactively reach out to candidates with skills and potential but not necessarily four-year degrees. In Charleston, S.C., through our partnership with Develop Carolina, a South Carolina-based RA sponsor, Booz Allen employs cohorts of apprentices throughout the year. Through skills-based, on-the-job training and mentoring, this partnership has grown our pipeline of software developers. While a formal job offer is not guaranteed, Booz Allen has converted approximately 90% of our Develop Carolina apprentices to full-time employees. Certifications and digital badging for in-demand skills such as cloud and cybersecurity are a capstone of our technical training and employee development programs. We work with government partners on solutions to get candidates without four-year degrees (and who are otherwise qualified) on contract where possible.