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From Financial Insecurity to Cybersecurity Expert: Workforce Development Program Helps Local Resident Secure Full-Time Job and Double Salary

From Financial Insecurity To Cybersecurity Expert: Workforce Development Program Helps Local Resident Secure Full-Time Job And Double Salary

How Orange County United Way’s UpSkill OC workforce development program helped Jay, an OC resident, gain financial stability.

In October 2021, Jay was stuck working a part-time Information Technology (IT) job, living paycheck to paycheck and barely making ends meet. Despite his desire to be settled, he was struggling to figure out how to secure the full-time position crucial for him to continue living in Orange County. With limited resources, pathways, or guidance and no formal educational background in IT, Jay needed to find a way to reach the next level in his career.

When a friend suggested he look into Orange County United Way’s UpSkill OC workforce development program, Jay didn’t hesitate to do the research and learn more.

UpSkill OC is an innovative, collaborative approach to bridging the skills gap for livable wage jobs in Orange County. The workforce development program provides unemployed and underemployed Orange County residents with a path to sustainable employment, particularly in the IT and Healthcare industries.

Jay enrolled in UpSkill OC and immediately began receiving the training, support, and education he needed. He was also placed in the CyberForward Academy work skill program, which consisted of a part-time paid internship with Cisoshare, an Orange County-based, Inc. 500 information security company that partners with United Way. Through this partnership, Cisoshare has bolstered United Way’s work and mission to improve lives in Orange County.

Cisoshare actually took the initiative to create the CyberForward Academy after learning about UpSkill OC. Once program participants, like Jay, are trained through Cisoshare’s curriculum, United Way helps place them in jobs through another partner company, Chrysalis.

“I can confidently say that the skills I gathered and honed through UpSkill OC and my internship with Cisoshare are the reason I’m now working full-time in a dream job and have doubled my salary in less than a year,” said Jay.  

In April 2022, Jay interviewed and secured a full-time cybersecurity position at Live Nation Entertainment, an American global entertainment company, where he plans to develop his career for a very long time. “I’m optimistic about my ability to grow in all domains of cybersecurity at this job and am excited about the future.”

The two most important skills Jay learned while participating in the UpSkill OC program?

He says the first was creating a plan. “From writing down daily job tasks to creating a plan for the skills I wanted to acquire, I realized that, although it can always change, you need to have a plan to change in the first place.”

Secondly, Jay notes how his time management skills improved after the program. “I learned how to properly use my time along with a better way to learn so that I actually retained the knowledge and skills I needed. Learning in real-time situations prepared me for anything.”

For those who may be in a similar situation to the one Jay was in, he encourages them to reach out at the very least to ask for help. If you or someone you know would like more information about applying for the UpSkill OC workforce development program, email UpSkill_OC@UnitedWayOC.org.

UpSkill OC is a workforce development program offered through Orange County United Way’s United for Financial Security℠ initiative, which is empowering struggling OC families to transition from surviving to thriving by delivering programs that focus on the most important tools to build financial stability: establishing a Safety Net, establishing Financial Wellness, developing Workforce Solutions, and promoting Public Awareness and Education.

Want to get involved or learn more about our programs?

If you would like to support our financial stability programs, we encourage you to:

Learn More About UpSkill OC


Donate to Orange County United Way to Support Our Programs


If you or your company would like to get involved with this program, please contact us at UpSkill_OC@UnitedWayOC.org or 949.263.6129.

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