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Clark Atlanta University Announces Partnership With IBM to Help Diversify the Cybersecurity Field

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HBCU Clark Atlanta University recently officially announced its partnership with tech company IBM to help provide students from underrepresented communities STEM opportunities. 

Clark Atlanta University joins IBM’s new education program as one of six HBCUs selected for the initiative as the company works to provide tech training to students from communities that aren’t given equal opportunities in the tech world.

IBM has also partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and Specialisterne Foundation to provide tech training to not only students but to U.S. military veterans and neurodivergent people as well. 

Throughout the program, students will be able to learn skills related specifically to cybersecurity. In addition to providing the HBCU students with courses and learning tools related to cybersecurity, the tech company will help the budding tech workers handle a cyberattack as they will immerse the students in a simulation of a real-life attack. The HBCU faculty will also be able to learn more about cybersecurity through meetings with IBM’s tech workers.

“Clark Atlanta University (CAU) welcomes the partnership and the expanded collaboration with IBM to build a more diverse and innovative U.S. cyber workforce,” said the president of Clark Atlanta University, George T. French Jr., Ph.D., in a statement. “This amazing opportunity prepares our students for the future in developing cutting edge technology to solve complex Cybersecurity challenges that will better protect organizations in a challenging and uncertain global security environment.”

IBM’s partnership with Clark Atlanta University comes after the company vowed to give 30 million people from underrepresented communities jobs by 2030 in order to create a more equal and diverse tech world. 

Although job opportunities in the tech world are projected to increase by 13% by 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BIPOC representation, specifically Black representation, in the field remains at low rates. 

While Black people make up 12.4% of the U.S. workforce, they only account for 7.4% of employees in the tech world, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. When it comes to cybersecurity specifically, the rate of Black employees is higher than the overall rate of Black employees in tech fields, but still comparatively lower than the rate of white people in cybersecurity positions. 

In 2021, Black people made up 11.8% of information security analysts while white people made up 76.7%, according to the latest data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

“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 the vice president and global head of IBM’s Corporate Social Responsibility,  Justina Nixon-Saintil, 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.” 

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