Software giant Microsoft has announced the launch of a national campaign to help train 250,000 people to boost the cybersecurity industry in the US.
Announcing the news in a blog post, (opens in new tab) Microsoft President and Vice Chair Brad Smith said the four-year campaign looks to help fill a quarter-million jobs by the middle of the decade, with the nation’s public community colleges playing a key role.
For its initial commitment, Microsoft will create a free cybersecurity curriculum available to all of the nation’s public community colleges. It will also provide training for new and existing faculty at 150 community colleges, and provide scholarships and supplemental resources to some 25,000 students.
According to Smith, cybersecurity is a growing problem in the States, and could very well become a matter of national security.
“Foreign governments have tampered with the software supply chain, targeted on-premise servers, and hacked into sensitive government files,” he explains. “Criminal ransomware (opens in new tab) groups have attacked schools, penetrated hospitals, and shut down a critical national pipeline.”
At the same time, the skills gap is only growing larger, making the problem that much more difficult to solve.
“For almost every two cybersecurity (opens in new tab) jobs in the United States today, a third job is sitting empty because of a shortage of skilled people,” he continues. “Currently there are 464,200 open jobs in the United States that require cybersecurity skills. They account for 6% of all open jobs in the country.”
All in all, more than one out of every 20 open jobs in America today is a job that requires cybersecurity skills.
To solve this problem, everyone needs to be involved, Microsoft believes, including nonprofits, tech industry giants, colleges, and universities. That’s why Smith believes community colleges will play a key role in tackling this growing problem: he believes they are diverse, flexible, affordable, effective, and present throughout the country.
“We need to mobilize America’s community colleges and enlist them in the cybersecurity battle,” he concluded.
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