IBM is looking to universities to address the scarcity of security talent and to increase diversity in the technology industry. At the National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Week Conference, IBM announced it has added 14 new higher education partners to its program announced in May to train students to become cybersecurity professionals. This brings its total number of partners to 20 schools in 11 states. At the conference hosted by U.S. Department of Education and the White House, IBM said it will work with the universities to jointly develop and open cybersecurity training centers.

IBM will provide the schools with coursework, lectures, immersive training experiences, IBM Cloud-hosted software, certifications, and professional development resources for free. The higher educational institution partners include Alabama A&M University, Talladega College, Tuskegee University (Alabama); Edward Waters University, Florida A&M University (Florida); Albany State University, Clark Atlanta University (Georgia); Grambling State University, Southern University System, Xavier University of Louisiana (Louisiana); Bowie State University, Morgan State University (Maryland); Alcorn State University (Mississippi); North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University (North Carolina); South Carolina State University, Voorhees University (South Carolina); Texas Southern University (Texas); Norfolk State University (Virginia); and West Virginia State University (West Virginia).

IBM customized learning portals

The company will create a customized Security Learning Academy portal for each individual institution which will include courses to help the universities and colleges expand their cybersecurity curricula. The schools will have also have access to IBM SkillsBuild which offers specialized professional development resources. Faculty and students can also participate in immersive experiences including a simulated cyberattack through IBM’s Security Command Center. They will be trained on incident response, and will get additional consultative support from IBM personnel.

This comes at a time when IBM and other technology companies are trying to increase diversity in the industry while also filling open cybersecurity positions. According to the cybersecurity professionals member organization ISC², there are as many as 1.8 million unfilled cybersecurity positions globally today.

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By GlobalData