Veteran Shines in Cybersecurity Career

Mauricio Filho, US Coast Guard veteran

Mauricio Filho, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran who had been laid off as a financial analyst, was enrolled in NPower’s Tech Fundamentals program when he met Teresa Livingston, an employment specialist at Swords to Plowshares. Teresa had come to Mauricio’s class to give a presentation on how Swords to Plowshares provides additional support to veterans enrolled in this tech training program.

As part of the program, Mauricio already had a paid internship lined up. However, Mauricio could not afford to purchase a daily bus ticket to get to his internship, and was about to tell his supervisor that he needed to work different hours to accommodate the three-hour, round-trip bicycle ride he would need to take from Oakland to San Mateo.

Fortunately for Mauricio, the timing of Swords’ support could not have been better. After hearing Teresa’s presentation, he thought to himself, “Swords to Plowshares is extending a hand to help, so I should probably reach out.”

Teresa informed Mauricio that Swords to Plowshares could assist with gas money or bus vouchers to travel to his internship— for Mauricio, this was his first big break since he had been laid off.

Besides not having enough money for transportation, Mauricio also lacked the appropriate professional attire to wear to the internship. Considering this, Teresa provided him with some Target gift cards to purchase appropriate professional clothes.

After losing his job, Mauricio had his doubts about his career ever taking off so late in life. However, he kept his head held high throughout the experience and continued to press forward. Throughout the entire process, Teresa reassured Mauricio that Swords to Plowshares would continue to help, reminding him that he needed to believe in himself if he wanted to reach his goals. “I had come so far,” Mauricio said, “and I wasn’t going to do this tech training and seven-week internship and not get a job.”

Thanks to help of Teresa and Swords to Plowshares, Mauricio’s internship turned into a full-fledged position, and in just one year’s time, he has already been promoted twice. Mauricio recalled this experience, saying, “Not too bad for starting out as a 47-year-old intern!”

Now, Mauricio continues to excel and feels like he has found a lifelong career: “I am 48 and feel like I am the best myself in my profession.” Mauricio plans to expand his cybersecurity knowledge and broaden his skills to continue to grow professionally. “I am proud that I love what I do,” he shared, “and I hope other veterans hear my story and seek support. One of the hardest things about reaching out is having a fear of being let down. But you guys did not let me down and did everything you said you would to help, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.”