IBM Aims To Diversify The Cybersecurity Workforce Through New Partnership With Six HBCUS
Photo Credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

IBM Aims To Diversify The Cybersecurity Workforce Through New Partnership With Six HBCUS

The future of STEM is underway thanks to a new initiative led by IBM, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Specialisterne Foundation, and six different Historically Black Colleges and Universities(HBCUs).

According to a press release, the group will now provide no-cost STEM job training to the U.S. military as well as neurodivergent learners across the world and students that make up communities that are underrepresented throughout the nation.

“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for today’s demanding careers will come from communities that may have been historically overlooked or excluded due to outdated hiring policies and old-fashioned credentialling,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, Vice President, IBM Corporate Social Responsibility and ESG in an official statement shared with AfroTech. “That’s why we’re uniting the public, private, and not-for-sector sectors to cultivate STEM talent from underrepresented communities to address the world’s most critical challenges.”

IBM Education

As a leader in the world of computer science, IBM has several programs in motion to teach the masses various skills within all areas of STEM.

As previously reported by AfroTech, in 2020, the company made a commitment to partner with various HBCUs to launch Cybersecurity centers with the main focus of diversifying the U.S. cyber workforce. Now, the names of the organizations that the brand will work alongside to fulfill that promise have been named.

The schools include North Carolina A&T State University, Southern University System, Clark Atlanta University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Morgan State University, and South Carolina State University.

They will have access to a one-of-a-kind, multi-year cybersecurity experience with IBM which includes a curriculum dedicated to cybersecurity, cloud access, and an immersive learning experience that was created to expand each HBCU’s ability to build up next-level talent to compete within the cybersecurity sector.

“Xavier is excited to partner with IBM to expand the opportunities offered to our talented students,” said Dr. Anne McCall, provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at the Xavier University of Louisiana in a statement. “At Xavier, we are responsible for cultivating the talents of the next generation, and cybersecurity is an industry of the future. This partnership will help our nation meet the growing need for skilled professionals in the cyberspace workforce.”

IBM Skillsbuild

This newly developed resource is tailored for transitioning Service members looking to gain job training. IBM SkillsBuild will provide credentials through the VA to help those members land careers upon the completion of their military service.

“We want Veterans to have as many pathways to employment and career success as possible,” said Michael Frueh, VA’s Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits. “This is an urgent need and goes beyond hiring. This partnership will offer our Veterans a unique opportunity to obtain skills and find job opportunities across companies and industries.”

In addition to veterans, the same program was launched to adhere to the needs of neurodivergent individuals across 13 countries. Through the Specialisterne Foundation, those who identify as autistic and have profiles that include ADHD, OCD, and dyslexia will have their talents harnessed to land careers in the STEM field.

“We strongly believe that hiring diverse talent increases companies’ success,” said Steen Lohse, CEO and Managing Director of Specialisterne Foundation. “Neurodivergent people across the world will have access to free, online courses from IBM SkillsBuild on disruptive technologies such as AI, cybersecurity, and cloud computing, enabling meaningful employment for neurodivergent learners.”