GRC for Intelligent Ecosystems (GRCIE), a nonprofit that specializes in training underserved populations for cybersecurity and GRC careers, is pleased to announce partnerships with two workforce development organizations.

According to GRCIE (pronounced Gray-see) Founder and Executive Director Jenai Marinkovic, GRCIE will be collaborating with the Western Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT) to provide career training for enrollees in its Adult Career Training Program. In a similar collaboration, GRCIE will partner with 2nd Chance Lifesavers of Birmingham, Alabama in their effort to launch a brand new Young Adult Career Training Program.

Both, WMCAT and 2nd Chance pride themselves in helping people who struggle economically due to under and unemployment in their communities. By working with GRCIE, each will be able to offer their target audience – people motivated to break out of a cycle of poverty – an intense 7-month tuition-free program in cybersecurity. The goal is, of course, to produce skilled workers who can finally enjoy sustained economic security.

The GRCIE program that WMCAT and 2nd Chance will take advantage of is the NextCISO Academy, headed up by Founder and Deputy Director Melissa Elza. It is a state-of-the-art remote learning program that is delivered through virtual reality/metaverse. Elza notes, “We simulate real-world scenarios for performing GRC tasks in virtual reality to help students practically apply their learnings in the Apprenticeship and eventually their future companies. As a result of this innovative training, students are ready to make an impact on day one.”

Pleased with the partnership plans, Marinkovic commented, “When we started during the pandemic, our classes were comprised of students spread across the country. Partnering with other nonprofits at the community level only makes sense. We are excited about the opportunity to have a real economic impact in both of these communities.” Elza added, “We’ve been seeing survey after survey telling us about the diversity problem in technology, but you don’t really see any actual solutions to that problem. We’re doing our part to tackle it head on.”

Other organizations involved in these collaborations include The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), which offers GRCIE students their globally recognized certificate in cloud computing (the CCSK), and Tiro Security, a boutique company specializing in Cybersecurity and GRC solutions, which provide career coaching and job placement services. Both, CSA and Tiro have been working with GRCIE since its inception in 2020, offering their services, including mentorship, free of charge to program students. Kris Rides, Tiro’s CEO, sits on GRCIE’s Board of Directors and was instrumental in helping GRCIE get started.

GRCIE is open to working with corporations, institutions, and organizations across the country to help build a new pool of cybersecurity professionals. The need is great and growing daily. At the same time, GRCIE’s goal is to diversify that pool. Currently, there is a distinct lack of females and minorities employed in cybersecurity jobs, a fact that GRCIE intends to change. In doing so, they are, at the same time, helping underserved communities transition to prosperity by offering the opportunity to attain sustainable careers.

For more information about GRCIE, please visit its website ( or contact them at ( Founders Marinkovic and Elza are especially eager to speak with both businesses and philanthropic organizations looking to improve society through cybersecurity channels. They are also hoping to work with government entities towards altering the trajectory of underserved individuals and communities.


Melissa Elza




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