Cybersecurity: The Next Big Opportunity for HBCU Students

In line with the current high demand for cybersecurity talent in the USA, four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have banded together with three Fortune 100 corporate partners to provide brand new and exciting opportunities for minority students aspiring toward a career in cybersecurity.

The collaboration is known as the “HBCU Cybersecurity Industry Collaboration Initiative Pilot,” initially introduced by Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering (AMIE), who have expressed interest in providing cybersecurity education for HBCUs. 

The collaboration includes their industry partners Microsoft, Abbott, and Raytheon Technologies.

Through this program, Black and African-American students from these HBCUs can enjoy a well-rounded and cohesive education from premier national academic institutions for cybersecurity technology.

“Our hope is that the initiative will enhance cybersecurity programming at HBCUs, helping connect students, especially African-American students, with opportunities to pursue cybersecurity certifications and degrees.”

Veronica L. Nelson, AMIE’s executive director

Nelson emphasizes the demand for cybersecurity workers in the American market today, with over 600,000 job openings in the industry.

The participating HBCU engineering schools in the collaboration are Virginia State University, Hampton University, Prairie View A&M University, and North Carolina A&T State University. 

Aside from receiving a premium education in cybersecurity, students from these universities will also be able to enjoy the following benefits from the industry partners:

  • Lectures by professional representatives from Microsoft, Raytheon Technologies, and Abbott. Students can experience special mentorship programs and close interactions with the guest lecturers for a more enriching and collaborative approach to cybersecurity.
  • Two students from Prairie View A&M University will receive an opportunity to participate in a specialized internship during the summer of 2022.
  •  Microsoft will be covering the costs and supporting the Cybersecurity Skills Initiative, a program created to produce skilled talents in the cybersecurity industry.
  • Raytheon Technologies will be covering the costs and working with students to highlight their talent and provide suitable opportunities for them in the industry.

Several representatives from partner industries have all expressed their goals of assisting students in developing their talents in cybersecurity as their contribution to today’s enterprises.

“In today’s digital-first world, skilled cybersecurity workers are critical to ensuring the safety of our enterprise as well as the products and technologies we provide people to live better, healthier lives,” Sabina Ewing, Chief Information Officer at Abbott, said.

“The pre-eminent role that HBCUs play in graduating the best and brightest engineering talent in the U.S. coupled with our passion to extend global cybersecurity skills is a unique collaboration and critical for the time that we are in. As part of our commitment to address America’s cybersecurity workforce shortage, we look forward to working together to create a workforce that represents the diversity of our society,” Microsoft Partner, Strategic Cloud Solutions, and AMIE board member, Valencia Maclin shared.

The HBCU Cybersecurity Industry Collaboration Initiative Pilot will continue until the end of Summer 2022, hoping to invite the remaining 11 ABET-accredited HBCU Schools of Engineering to follow in their footsteps.