Cyber Governance, Risk, and Compliance Coalition

Cybersecurity Workforce Transitioning for Veterans and First Responders

A new coalition, led by Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), is paving the way for military service members and first responders to transition into high-demand civilian cybersecurity careers.

RIT will lead eight universities in developing certificate programs to build and validate focused skills in Governance, Risk, and Compliance. The pilot program is backed by $2.5 million in generous funding from the National Security Agency (NSA)—which will make the training free for transitioning veterans and first responders.


The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) will soon require 30,000 Department of Defense contractors to receive audits of their cybersecurity to ensure supply chain security. These new requirements will add to the growing need for cybersecurity professionals, with roughly 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs currently unfilled, according to a recent Cybersecurity Ventures report. In an effort to help fill critical roles with professionals well-suited to work in security services, the NSA has awarded our coalition $2.5 million to support at least 250 new certifications that help place transitioning veterans and first responders in desirable professional cybersecurity roles. In addition to providing a pathway to great careers, our coalition focus will directly benefit the Defense Industrial Base’s ability to achieve the imminent mandate for CMMC compliance.

Coalition Member Schools

Basic Training - 
(GR&C Bootcamp)

GR&C for Advanced Technologies - 
(AI and Quantum)

Basic Training: Earning a Governance, Risk, & Compliance (GR&C) Certification at RIT

RIT will now offer an introductory Governance, Risk, & Compliance (GR&C)  program that provides basic GR&C training including knowledge and skills that are most relevant to IT Auditor roles, as defined by the NIST NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NIST/NICE), aligned with the CMMC Certification curriculum, validated by ISACA’s Certified Information Systems Auditor certificate, and augmented by introductory professional certificates in cybersecurity technology and digital forensics.

Program features include training, mentoring, placement, and certifications.

Career Focus: Program prepares students for professional roles as IT Auditors, evaluating DoD contractor compliance with new CMMC Certification.

Cost: Program is fully-funded for transitioning veterans and first responders. 

Apply via RIT Certified (note: applications opening Winter 2023-24)

About RIT Cybersecurity and Veteran Support

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is uniquely suited to lead the coalition to deliver on its main effort: placing transitioning service members and first responders in cybersecurity careers. RIT was founded to develop and deliver technical workforce development training, and it has graduated more than 20,000 students from its workforce development programs. Recent workforce development successes at RIT include a cybersecurity fundamentals program (launched in 2020), photonics and optics (launched in 2018), and a veterans-focused program in advanced manufacturing (launched in 2016). In addition, RIT is recognized as a National Center of Excellence in Cyber Defense Education and Research by the Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency.

RIT has the fourth-oldest and one of the largest cooperative education programs in the world, annually placing students in more than 6,200 co-op assignments at more than 2,200 employing organizations. Annually, co-op students generate more than $45 million in earnings through their employment across industry, government, and the not-for-profit sector. 

RIT also has a strong tradition of support for active duty military, veterans and their dependents. RIT does this through a partnership with the US Department of Veteran Affairs through the Yellow Ribbon program. RIT also offers transitioning services through the Veterans Upward Bound program, which has dedicated staff for services such as admissions assistance, academic skills preparation, refresher courses, tutoring, equipment loaner items, financial aid application assistance, career assessments, and connecting to local resources for auxiliary needs.

About Coalition Co-Lead and RIT Professor, Lieutenant Colonel Justin Pelletier (US Army Reserve)

Justin Pelletier is the Director of the Cyber Range and Training Center in the ESL Global Cybersecurity Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). As a component of this work, he oversees the premier worldwide offensive cybersecurity competition (Global Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition), which brings together the top ethical hackers from across the planet. As a Professor of Practice in the Department of Cybersecurity, Dr. Pelletier teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels, trains and leads student teams to perform security assessments for partner organizations, and helped to bring the Hacking for Defense initiative to RIT. He holds a PhD in Information Assurance and Security, an MBA in Entrepreneurship, and a BS in Computer Science. Prior to joining academia, Dr. Pelletier was a civil servant in the intelligence community. He is a combat veteran and currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Justin Pelletier
Director of the GCI Cyber Range and Training Center