The National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA), the nation’s leading nonprofit promoting cybersecurity education and awareness, announced the launch of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Career Program.
Launched in partnership with top HBCUs and cybersecurity organizations – including Prairie View A&M, Southern University, St. Philip’s College, Texas Southern University, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Dell Technologies, Proofpoint, Quanta Services and Trellix – the HBCU Career Program will aim to equip students with the necessary skills to navigate the search process for positions in security, privacy and risk, helping build a pipeline of Black professionals to fill the cyber workforce gap.
Across the nation, there is a critical shortage of cybersecurity professionals – with nearly 715,000 unfilled roles in the U.S. alone through April 2022. In addition, minority candidates make up only a fraction of the cybersecurity workforce with only 9% identifying as Black and 4% identifying as Hispanic. This means building bonds with underrepresented communities is not just pivotal to closing the workforce gap, but in building a more inclusive cybersecurity community.
“For the cybersecurity industry to ever reach its full potential, the industry needs to find ways of bringing diverse talent into its pipeline,” said Lisa Plaggemier, executive director at the National Cybersecurity Alliance.
“This program will tackle this long standing issue head on by building bridges between the industry and the untapped talent pools that exist at many HBCUs today.”
As part of the program NCA, partner schools and sponsors will collaborate on a variety of initiatives spanning from networking to interview prep. Such initiatives include:
– Creating and managing mentoring programs between sponsors, schools and students that include training for the mentors and implementing tools and strategies to administer enrollment, user profile matching, scheduling one-on-one sessions and more.
– Conducting a series of in-person events in the fall and spring semesters at HBCUs featuring guest speakers and panel discussions with professionals and recruiters. Events will provide students with a deep dive into the cybersecurity and privacy field, including the types of career paths available, how to interview successfully, what to expect in your first professional job, and personal stories from recent HBCU graduates.
“At Proofpoint, the diversity of our people is the driving force behind much of our success and The HBCU Career Program stands to be a key initiative in helping our industry make key connections with the next generation of cyber talent,” said Sharyl Givens, chief human resources officer, Proofpoint.
“The HBCU community is full of talented students that are interested in technology and cybersecurity and we can’t wait to kick-off the program this fall.”
“The importance of effective cybersecurity in our business has grown significantly. We are excited to partner with the National Cybersecurity Alliance to encourage HBCU students to consider cyber careers in this ever-changing, extremely vital area,” said Moanica Caston, vice president, Diversity and Inclusion, Quanta Services.
“Building a more diverse cybersecurity workforce is key to bringing new, innovative thinking into the industry and ultimately defending against cyberthreats,” said Jason Rosselot, vice president cybersecurity and business unit security officer, Dell Technologies.
“With the launch of the HBCU Career Program, we’re taking a meaningful step toward developing the diverse workforce of tomorrow while driving more excitement about careers in cybersecurity.”
“For decades, we have relied on the same recruitment tactics to close the cybersecurity talent gap,” said Michael Alicea, chief human resources officer at Trellix.
“Our lack of diversity is holding us back. The HBCU Career Program will open new pathways for those seeking purposeful careers and introduce fresh, diverse perspectives to the industry.”
For more information on the HBCU Career Program please visit: https://staysafeonline.org/programs/hbcu-see-yourself-in-cyber/.
For more information on the National Cybersecurity Alliance, please visit: www.staysafeonline.org.