Creating New Career Pathways in Cybersecurity: Christian Martinez's Story

Creating New Career Pathways in Cybersecurity: Christian Martinez's Story

Correlation One is now in its third year of partnering with Amazon’s Career Choice program to design and offer customized technical training for eligible hourly employees. These programs offer major benefits to employers and employees alike. Christian Martinez, a former soldier and Amazon Warehouse Associate, recently completed cybersecurity training through Correlation One. The program launched his new career as a Cybersecurity Specialist for the Army. Meanwhile, his former and current employers - Amazon and the Department of Defense (DoD) - have benefited from his dedication and loyalty, and new technical and professional skill sets. 

Forging a New Career Path with Amazon’s Career Choice Program 

When Christian Martinez joined Amazon’s Career Choice program, he was looking for direction. Christian grew up in Florida, and enlisted in the military after finishing high school. He had a positive experience in the service and learned about hard work and discipline. But he still felt an itch to gain new, transferable skills and carve out a unique path for himself. When he left the Army, Christian found himself working at an Amazon delivery station, where his work involved different functions every day. While there, Christian made friends, but continued to feel a lack of focus. He then learned about a new opportunity to reskill through Amazon’s Career Choice program.

Amazon’s Career Choice program partners with Correlation One to offer customized technical training and professional development support to current employees. By equipping Amazon employees like Christian with sought-after technical skills, the reskilling program enables them to fill in-demand digital roles within the company and beyond. Despite some initial uncertainty, Christian decided to sign up for a 16-week cybersecurity training. For Christian, joining the program ended up being the path to career development that he’d been searching for since finishing high school. 

For the first time, with the support of the program, Christian felt empowered with a sense of direction in his career. Before joining, he had little experience with technology. He worried that the training would be difficult, but once he started, he found that it was approachable. Best of all was the professional development support he received. Working with a Correlation One coach, Christian learned about resume writing and interviewing, and got help with applying for cybersecurity roles. Meanwhile, Amazon accommodated Christian’s training by reducing his work hours to make space for the program in his schedule. Equipped with a sought-after new skill set, Christian went back into the Army as a Cybersecurity Specialist. 

Hear Christian's story in this video

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Employer-sponsored reskilling programs like Amazon’s Career Choice, executed in partnership with Correlation One, provide essential training opportunities that support employers in attracting and retaining talent. They can also be instrumental for employees like Christian who seek career mobility but are at a disadvantage due to a lack of traditional education and professional networks. For Christian, the experience was personally transformative and inspired professional loyalty: “If you give education to employees, they’re going to want to stick with you.”

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A Win-Win for Employers and Employees 

Setting Learners Up for Success 

Prior to joining Amazon’s Career Choice program, Christian was working in an hourly warehouse role. He was eager for opportunities to land a higher-paying, higher-skilled role. Through participation in the program, Christian, and thousands of other employees, have been able to access professional opportunities that would otherwise have been out of reach. 

Correlation One’s reskilling programs are unique in delivering highly personalized learning tailored to individual needs. They also foster a highly engaged community of learners in an inclusive and collaborative environment, which enhances motivation and knowledge sharing. Beyond the technical material covered, Correlation One’s programs offer extensive professional development support through individualized coaching and skill development.

In Christian’s case, enrolling in Correlation One’s training propelled him in an entirely new career direction. He gained the skills to succeed in an essential cybersecurity role, and a new professional skill set that will help him in any future job. Correlation One’s relationships with employers like the DoD are also a tremendous asset to Career Choice learners. Christian has already been able to use his new skills to serve his country by working to enhance national security efforts in the Army. 

Helping Employers Build a Strong Talent Pipeline

Meanwhile, by sponsoring learners to participate in Correlation One’s training solution, employers like Amazon and the DoD can meet key organizational needs efficiently. Internal mobility programs and workplace learning deliver highly skilled workers to fill in-demand roles now, improve employee retention in the medium term, and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). 

Filling in-demand roles in cybersecurity and other technical fields is a major challenge for employers. According to a 2023 ISC2 workforce study, 67% of organizations report that they have a shortage of cybersecurity staff. Meanwhile, across technical fields, 87% of businesses say they either already have a skills gap, or expect to have one within a few years. By training workers like Christian to enter in-demand roles, reskilling and upskilling programs meet employers’ immediate workforce needs in technical fields while helping prepare organizations for the future. 

Reskilling programs also save organizations money on hiring and lead to significant and cost-saving improvements in retention. Replacing employees is simply expensive - costing employers some 50% of annual salaries for a given role. Providing employees with career advancement opportunities presents a clear path for growth within companies and encourages employees to stay. A 2022 study found that companies that excel in supporting internal mobility saw a 2x increase in employee retention. 

At the same time, providing equitable access to training and development opportunities allows organizations to break down systemic barriers to advancement. Some 70% of Black and Hispanic employees in the US are frontline workers. Underrepresented groups continue to be a major source of untapped talent for advancement into technical roles. 

Public-private partnerships that support training solutions can bring together the strengths of both types of organizations. Joining the private sector’s training capabilities with the public sector’s employment opportunities provides robust support for workforce development and drives national economic growth. 

A Training Program That Delivers

Amazon’s Career Choice program began in 2012 as an education and training benefit designed to help hourly employees acquire new skills. Its goal is to establish pathways to careers in high-demand industries at Amazon or beyond. Since 2021, Amazon has been partnering with Correlation One to develop and execute customized technical training programs. By offering employees education, flexibility, and support, they ensure that employees gain the critical skills they need to succeed now. 

Correlation One has worked with the Career Choice team to offer a robust training solution based on four key pillars. The first is to provide a high-quality curriculum tailored precisely to Amazon and its job roles. By designing specific career pathways and matching course content directly to relevant roles within the organization and its partner network, Correlation One ensures that learners are equipped to fill in-demand positions in the company. For Christian, this meant he was exposed to all of the key material needed to excel in his new career as a Cybersecurity Specialist ranging from IT Security Fundamentals to Threat Management and Transaction Security in a concise and thorough training program. 

Of all the components of his training program, the one Christian found most impactful was professional development support. This second key pillar of Correlation One’s training solution ensures that structured career development and personalized mentorship are embedded in every stage of the curriculum. At the same time, the program is designed to meet the unique learning needs and varied schedules of hourly employees. This third pillar enabled Christian to participate in in-depth training while working. Finally, a collaborative and inclusive learning environment supports students’ motivation and learning depth - and the impact of this fourth pillar is clear. Christian decided to enter Career Choice after connecting with a large community of learners at Amazon who had already participated. 

When Christian started his Correlation One training, he had some familiarity with email, but little computer background, and no knowledge of cybersecurity. He had little experience of applying for technical skilled work. Through his participation in the program, he left with confidence in his new abilities and the capacity to succeed on a new level. And Christian is far from alone. Since 2021, Correlation One has trained over 7,000 Amazon Associates across more than 200 sites in all 50 US States, the UK, and Canada. To date, 86% of participants are either still enrolled or have completed the program, and thousands of graduates like Christian have landed dream jobs in key areas of the Amazon ecosystem.

Confidence for the Future 

The key theme of Christian Martinez’s career story is confidence: confidence in his own path, and confidence for his employers. When employees sign up for Amazon's Career Choice program, they do so with the confidence that they will receive sophisticated training in an approachable and flexible way on a short timescale, without disrupting their employment and income. For Christian and many employees like him, participating in Correlation One’s training solution unlocked new career opportunities and dramatically changed his life.

Meanwhile, employers feel confident about what training can deliver. Tailored technical training equips hourly employees with in-demand skills to rapidly meet organizational needs. Offering education and training to employees builds loyalty and serves DEI goals in the process. Together, these outcomes enhance recruitment and retention to ensure that organizations remain agile and competitive. A strong training solution means the ability to meet current needs and look to the future with confidence.

Are you interested in learning more about how you can also elevate your employees' skills and give them career mobility opportunities? Download our reskilling white paper today.


Publish date: May 17, 2024