SACRAMENTO – As more threats to California move to the online world, preparing and cultivating highly skilled professionals to lead cybersecurity efforts has become a major focus for California. Today, Homeland Security Advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom and Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Mark Ghilarducci, announced California’s participation in an innovative cybersecurity training partnership with the SANS Institute, a cybersecurity training and certification provider to public and private organizations.

Cal OES, along with California Department of Technology, and California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development will support the next generation of cybersecurity professionals and identify talented young women across California ready to accept the challenge. Known as GirlsGoCyberStart, this initiative encourages high school-age females to explore their interests in cyber studies, learn core cybersecurity skills, and build confidence in the complexities of cyber problem-solving. This is the second year of the GirlsGoCyberStartprogram. Last year, more than 6,500 young women from 16 states participated in the program.

GirlsGoCyberStart is a free online program open to all female students in grades 9 through 12, regardless of prior knowledge or experience with cybersecurity and information technology. Students play the program’s games alone or in teams and solve challenges to gain points and advance levels while earning prizes along the way. In addition to individual prizes, such as trips, gift certificates, and computers, the three in-state schools with the most participants will win monetary prizes.

To learn more about GirlsGoCyberStart, please visit https://www.girlsgocyberstart.com/