Cybersecurity: Local company looks to recruit vets - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Cybersecurity: Local company looks to recruit vets

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - As we become dependent on modern technology, we also become vulnerable to cyberattacks. 

Responding to those cybersecurity incidents is San Diego-based Proficio, which has a highly skilled team in place, but is now tapping into a new source for talent. Veterans and service members transitioning into the civilian world are the new faces on this digital battle field.

Dana Hawkins spent eight years in the Navy, where he deployed three times, and said he learned some valuable skills.

"Self-discovery, loyalty and comradery," Hawkins said.

It's those skills and talent that Founder and CEO Tim McElwee was looking for. In fact, he moved his company closer to San Diego to recruit top military talent from Camp Pendleton to Naval Air Station North Island and in-between.

"From the cybersecurity experience they may have in the military, from their discipline, from their reliability. There's a tremendous amount of value that we as a company have been able to take advantage of by hiring such a high number of military people," McElwee said.

According to the Department of Labor, the veteran unemployment rate was four percent in January 2018. Cybersecurity is a field that has more jobs than the industry can fill. By 2020, 1.5 million jobs will go unfilled.

"We're looking for strong leaders, people who can mentor, who can grow -- people who can be thought leaders. We're also looking for people who are interested in leveraging our abroad locations who may have traveled and like the idea of living abroad or traveling," McElwee said.

These are all qualifications that Hawkins says he has acquired from his time in the military.

"When you hire that military veteran that mentality, that drive to be the best just comes with that individual," he said.

Cybersecurity is a growing and expanding field, and for companies like Proficio, it's a chance to give back to those who have proudly served this nation.

"Your legacy is what you are and what you've done and for us to be able to leave people with more than just a job is tremendously satisfying." McElwee said.

Proficio will be holding an upcoming "Cybersecurity Bootcamp" in March. It's a free training program for active duty military members and veterans.

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