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The National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA), a leading nonprofit promoting cybersecurity education and awareness, has rolled out the new Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Career Program.

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Launched in partnership with cybersecurity organizations,  the HBCU Career Program aims to equip students with top 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.

According to recent data from the labor department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Black or African-American’ people make up only 3% of the information security analysts in the U.S.

The partnership includes Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Texas-based HBCUs such as St Philip’s College, Prairie View A&M University, and Texas Southern University.

Industry leaders include Dell Technologies, Proofpoint, Quanta Services, Trellix, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is an operational component under the Department of Homeland Security.

“For the cybersecurity industry to 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, in a statement. “This program will tackle this 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 1:1 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.

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.

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