AZ Cyber Initiative

About Us

AZ Cyber Initiative is a non-profit dedicated to unlocking opportunities for young people who are interested in cyber and emergent technology. We collaborate with workforce partners across the state to offer programs that provide career-connected and work-based learning experiences, leading to quality digital jobs that help young people achieve their dreams.

Our Mission

To provide young people in Arizona with the inspiration and skills needed to discover and pursue a meaningful, household-sustaining career in the digital economy.

Our Vision

To close the cyber skills gap, build a strong workforce pipeline for cyber and cyber-related digital jobs, and promote regional economic security for communities across Arizona. 

Arizona’s Young People Deserve…

 Opportunities for a Bright Future

Growing up in Ambos Nogales on the US/Mexico border Manny Felix, AZ Cyber’s Founder and CEO, didn’t have opportunities like AZ Cyber Initiative. It wasn’t until Manny joined the US Navy after college and attended grad school that he discovered job opportunities he wished he and his family had known about when he was in high school. In 2021, Manny returned to Nogales to run the inaugural AZ Cyber Boot Camp for high school students. Twenty-two young people participated. Just two years later, in Summer 2023, over 150 young people from Santa Cruz County, Tucson, and Phoenix participated in cyber boot camps. Seventy were from Manny’s hometown. Young people in Arizona –  whether they live in urban, rural or exurban areas – deserve quality job pathways.

This is what AZ Cyber Initiative is all about.

Good Pay & Equal Access

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT positions have a median annual wage ranging from $57,000 to more than $130,000. At the same time, nearly one-third of U.S. workers do not have foundational digital skills, which disproportionately affects workers of color due to structural inequities. Within the technology sector, women and Black, Latinx, and Indigenous professionals are not represented proportionately. Women make up half the population and only a quarter of the tech workforce. Black and Latinx adults are 30% of the population, yet they only account for 15% of the tech workforce.

Personal & Community Safety

Cybersecurity is fundamental to the safety and resilience of all of our digital tools and systems that ensure your personal privacy and security in digital and real life. Yet, there are more than 750,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the United States. Many of these jobs are in critical fields such as healthcare and energy infrastructure. And these numbers don’t touch upon the need for cyber literacy skills in every other arena from digital design, to education, and small business.

 AFFILIATED ORGANIZATION

OUR TEAM

Manuel Felix

Founder & CEO

Vanessa Veliz

Director of Programs

Lucia Breault-Evans

Executive Administrative Assistant

Samantha Soto-Sanchez

Creative Director

Manuel Felix

Founder & CEO

Samantha Soto-Sanchez

Creative Director

Vanessa Veliz

Director of Programs

Lucia Breault-Evans

Executive Administrative Assistant

BOARD MEMBERS

Jenner Holden

Chief Information Security Officer, Axon

Bill Waynick

Vice President, Federal, Productable

Kim Jones

Director, Performance Acceleration (CyberCRAFT) at Intuit

Bob Fabien Zinga

Head of Information Security, Information Warfare Commander, U.S. Navy Reserve

Pete Kim

Exec. Director, Cybersecurity External Engagements & Partnerships, Raytheon Technologies

Heather Monthie

Cybersecurity Architect, Author & Podcaster

Jenner Holden

Chief Information Security Officer, Axon

Pete Kim

Exec. Director, Cybersecurity External Engagements & Partnerships, Raytheon Technologies

Bill Waynick

Vice President, Federal, Productable

Kim Jones

Director, Performance Acceleration (CyberCRAFT) at Intuit

Heather Monthie

Cybersecurity Architect, Author & Podcaster

Bob Fabien Zinga

Head of Information Security, Information Warfare Commander, U.S. Navy Reserve

BOARD ADVISORS

Gregory Droeger

Legal Advisor

Nick Anderson

Chief Operating Officer at Invictus International Consulting, LLC & Nonresident Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council

Chris Campbell

Chief Strategist, Krool & Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury

Riley McIssac

Associate Director, HSI Initiatives, Grant Development, University of Arizona

Jen Winters

Founder, JW Marketing Solutions

Gregory Droeger

Legal Advisor

Riley McIssac

Associate Director, HSI Initiatives, Grant Development, University of Arizona

Nick Anderson

Chief Operating Officer at Invictus International Consulting, LLC & Nonresident Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council

Jen Winters

Founder, JW Marketing Solutions

Chris Campbell

Chief Strategist, Krool & Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury

 AZ CYBER’S CORPORATE & PHILANTHROPIC PARTNERS

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

AZApplied
PimaCC
JTed
AZSecure
Nogales
Chandler
Basha
Basha
Basha

Community Partners

Community Partners

AZApplied
PimaCC
JTed
AZSecure
Nogales
Chandler
Basha