Training and education are critical components to landing your dream job. If your industry happens to be intelligence or defense related, however, finding a place to get that critical experience – especially in classified areas or with classified systems and technology – can be pretty difficult.

Enter the Advanced Technical Intelligence Center for Human Capital Development (ATIC). Seeing the shortage of individuals with the necessary qualifications for key jobs in intelligence and defense within their own local community of Dayton, Ohio and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, ATIC was formed to serve and support the need for cleared workers or those with strong backgrounds in intelligence and related fields. ATIC has gone on to partner with a number of government organizations and universities across the country, and will soon be sponsoring facilities in Charlottesville, Va. and Grand Forks, N.D.

“It was a dream 5 years ago, sold to state legislatures and federal legislatures with a lot of PowerPoint and arm waving,” said Hugh Bolton, president and chief executive officer of ATIC. “In the last two-and-a-half years we’ve refined the programs and made this a reality.”

Classes range from on-site courses such as their Analyst Boot Camp, to distance learning courses and even four-year degree and certificate programs offered through universities. Some programs include government sponsorships for security clearances, making it one of the few ways for individuals who don’t already have a clearance to receive a sponsorship, without first obtaining a full-time position. Approximately 300 students have received security clearances through ATIC programs.

The ability for students to obtain security clearances as a part of the training program poises it as a unique institution, able to provide a level of training not offered in a traditional university setting. ATIC is a secure facility, meaning that as students progress through the system and clearances are adjudicated, they’re able to progress from unclassified, to classified levels of instruction, including access to secure communications systems.

“Quickly students transition into classrooms and labs with the latest tools for geospatial, signal intelligence and information technology,” said Bolton. “They’re working on the same software products and hardware systems they’d be using in the intelligence community workforce. We have a strong emphasis on tools.”

The program has expanded over time, adapting to meet the needs of industry and government, as well as opening facilities in other regions.

“We know that Dayton, Ohio isn’t the only area that has critical shortages of human capital in intelligence,” said Bolton “We’re looking at how we can help other regions.”

While most of ATIC’s initial programs took place on-site in their secure facility, as they’ve grown they’ve expanded the number of opportunities outside of their local area. Distance learning programs are ramping up and they’ve also established a mobile training team.

ATIC boasts more than 90 partnerships with industry, government and academia. As they expand to new facilities and regions, partnering with organizations, facilities and government agencies in the local area is critical, both for their ability to obtain security clearance sponsorships where necessary and also for crafting the right training programs to meet local needs. “That’s the key about the way we operate,” said Bolton.

Because of the unique mission of ATIC, not everyone is eligible. Students must be U.S. citizens, and applicants are pre-screened. Bolton noted that many ATIC students have been displaced workers, and those looking to make a transition and garner a new skill set to lead them to their next career. The federal government also sends a number of individuals through ATIC training programs, and GSA scheduled rates are available. ATIC is certified to accept the GI bill, meaning veterans and disabled veterans are able to use those benefits to pursue ATIC degrees and training programs.

The majority of students who complete programs at ATIC leave with a new job already lined-up. While ATIC doesn’t place students, they do work with hiring managers and the federal government to help graduates pursue the career of their dreams.

“There are real opportunities for people to pursue a career through the programs offered,” said Bolton. “It’s a young program, but growing.”

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Lindy Kyzer is the editor of She loves the NISPPAC, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.