Southern University System partners with IBM for Cybersecurity Leadership Centers
initiatives with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Specialisterne Foundation, and six Historically Black Colleges and Universities to provide no-cost STEM job training to U.S. military veterans, neurodivergent learners worldwide, and university students from underrepresented communities in the U.S.
In 2021, IBM Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna pledged for IBM to partner with HBCUs to establish Cybersecurity Leadership Centers, with the goal of building a more diverse U.S. cyber workforce. Southern is among the first six of more than 20 Cybersecurity Leadership Centers. Other institutions include Clark Atlanta University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, South Carolina State University and Xavier University of Louisiana. Participant universities will have access to a customized, multi-year cybersecurity experience with IBM, including cybersecurity curricula, cloud access, and an immersive learning experience to expand HBCUs’ capacity to develop top talent in the cybersecurity sector.
“As we know, technology-related services are in constant demand, and cybersecurity is paramount,” said Ray L. Belton, president of the Southern University System and chancellor of Southern University and A&M College. "Consistent growth in all areas of industry requires a well-prepared workforce. We are proud to partner in this initiative that will offer in-demand programming and opportunities to our students, adding to a diverse, global marketplace.”
IBM will develop for each HBCU, a customized IBM Security Learning Academy portal — IBM client offering — including courses designed to help the university enhance its cybersecurity education portfolio. In addition, IBM will continue to give access to IBM Academic Programs. HBCU faculty and students will have an opportunity to benefit from IBM Security’s Command Center, through which they can experience a highly realistic, simulated cyberattack, designed to prepare them and train them on response techniques. Moreover, HBCUs’ faculty will have access to consultation sessions with IBM technical personnel on cybersecurity. Also, IBM will provide faculty and students with no-cost access to multiple SaaS IBM Cloud environments.
“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for today’s demanding careers will come from communities that may have been historically overlooked or excluded due to outdated hiring policies and old-fashioned credentialling,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, vice president, IBM Corporate Social Responsibility and ESG. “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.”