From jump-starting networks to providing diverse work experiences, MITRE’s National Security Accelerator Program fast-tracks participants into the equivalent of a two-year employee in just six months. We’re empowering early-career talent to make a global impact—from Day One.
Maddie Long (right) discusses her national security career aspirations with her mentor, Darcy Walsh.
Like companies across the nation, MITRE has been grappling with this challenge. How do we ensure we can continue to fulfill our mission of solving problems for a safer world—particularly with U.S. national security and stability at stake?
MITRE’s National Security Accelerator Program (NSAP) aims to meet that challenge. The initiative, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in June, fast-tracks top talent to facilitate their careers in national security.
The process is highly selective. With nearly 5,800 applications to date, NSAP has extended just 48 offers.
The program only hires people with established technical skills and a breadth of workforce experience or an advanced degree—or both.
Brian Matejevich, one of these select few, completed the program in January. The experience provided him an accelerated path to rewarding work in autonomous systems for Army platforms.
“Six months goes faster than you think,” Matejevich says. “Before I knew it, I was doing critical work and traveling domestically and internationally to support government interests.
“If you’re an early-career professional who wants to quickly dive into fast-paced, impactful work, NSAP is the place to do it.”
The fast pace is key. From learning company culture, to building a network, to gaining exposure to multi-disciplinary work, the program commits to developing participants into the equivalent of a two-year employee in just six months.
At the start of their cohort, participants interview potential mentors and select one they consider a good fit. Maddie Long chose 16-year MITRE employee—and fellow female engineer—Darcy Walsh.
“Being in a male-dominated field, I appreciated having someone like Darcy to look up to,” Long says. “It’s great to be mentored by someone who’s thriving and doing the kinds of things you want to do with your career.”
Mentors not only offer their professional insights—they also foster connections with other colleagues. Walsh aims to provide her mentees a new networking engagement every week.
“I connect my mentees with a diverse group of people from across MITRE,” Walsh explains. “That allows them to broaden their aperture, see what the company’s all about, and jump-start their network.”
If you’re an early-career professional who wants to dive into fast-paced, impactful national security work, this is the place to do it.
Opportunities to Move Through the Matrix
Meeting the diverse needs of today’s employment landscape can be extremely challenging.
The accelerator program caters to a generation of workers with a different set of priorities than past employees. According to Forbes, Millennial and Gen Z professionals “want to work with a company that stands for a purpose beyond simply making a profit and want to feel their work is making a positive societal or environmental impact.”
As a not-for-profit company that serves the public good, MITRE offers no shortage of opportunities to satisfy that desire.
Within the company’s matrixed structure, NSAP employees rotate through four work programs. Those experiences allow them to explore myriad challenges—from 5G to artificial intelligence to cyber.
The curriculum also includes a robust reading list, covering topics from military strategy to out-of-the-box thinking. What’s more, participants have the chance to complete a challenging capstone project.
For example, Matejevich helped develop a simulator that models the behavior of a swarm of autonomous aerial systems, or drones. The military uses swarms for various applications, from tracking adversaries to engaging hostile forces.
“The capstone gave me the opportunity to work directly with our government sponsor—and collaborate with our partners in the private sector,” Matejevich says. “Even as a new employee, I was able to deliver significant impact.”
Extending Our Long Legacy in National Security
Upon graduation from the program, participants choose where they go within MITRE. That placement is about the best fit both for the employee and the company, whether in MITRE National Security (MNS) or elsewhere.
The opportunity to develop skills across disciplines complements our ability to offer a fulfilling career that fosters growth—and the corporate values today’s professionals desire.
“We put in the time to nurture relationships, create a safe environment, validate their concerns, celebrate their successes, and impart the tools needed to drive their careers,” says Michael Balazs, NSAP manager. “Then we step back to let them grow.”
The program strives to extend our 60+ year legacy in national security out to the century mark—and beyond.
With 25 graduates, 20 staff actively in the program, and 12 expected new hires by the end of 2022, NSAP is making steady progress toward delivering transformational impact for the future.
“As MITRE takes on today’s critical challenges, we need the best and brightest. That’s why we developed this program,” says Keoki Jackson, MNS senior VP and general manager.
“With it, we accelerate early careers with the knowledge, experience, and network to have an impact on day one.”