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IBM Announces 6 HBCU Cybersecurity Leadership Centers

As part of its commitment to train 30 million people globally in tech skills by 2030, IBM has partnered with six historically Black colleges and universities and HBCU systems to establish Cybersecurity Leadership Centers that will work to build a diverse cyber workforce in the United States. The participating institutions — North Carolina A&T State University, Southern University System, Clark Atlanta University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Morgan State University and South Carolina State University — are the first six of a planned 20-plus HBCU partners that will receive access to IBM cybersecurity training resources including curricula, cloud access and immersive learning tools.

For each HBCU, IBM will develop a customized IBM Security Learning Academy portal with courses designed to complement the institution's existing cybersecurity education portfolio. Students and faculty will also have access to IBM's Security Command Center, which offers cyber response training through realistic attack simulations. In addition, IBM will provide cybersecurity consultation sessions for faculty to meet with IBM technical personnel.

"We believe that the most promising job candidates for today's demanding careers will come from communities that may have been historically overlooked or excluded due to outdated hiring policies and old-fashioned credentialing," said Justina Nixon-Saintil, vice president for IBM Corporate Social Responsibility and ESG, in a statement. "That's why we're uniting the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to cultivate STEM talent from underrepresented communities to address the world's most critical challenges."

"NC A&T State University being chosen as one of the first six HBCU Cybersecurity Leadership Centers is a great privilege that will provide our students with access to top-notch education, technology and industry professionals and will ensure the future cybersecurity workforce will be diverse, experienced and capable of protecting this country," said Hossein Sarrafzadeh, PhD, director of North Carolina A&T State University's Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity Research, Education and Outreach. "IBM recognizes the untapped talent at HBCUs and with this investment they are building a cybersecurity education infrastructure that will propel underrepresented communities to the forefront of security leadership."

"Through South Carolina State University's collaboration with IBM, students, staff and faculty have access to modern technology, resources and skills development," said Dr. Nikunja Swain, chair and professor in SC State's Computer Science and Mathematics Department and executive director of the Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity. "We are glad to be part of this new IBM HBCU Cybersecurity Leadership initiative, which will further enhance our ongoing activities on several key areas, including cybersecurity, data science analytics, cloud computing, IOT, blockchain, design thinking, quantum computing and artificial intelligence."

For more information, visit the IBM site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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