Microsoft Launches Campaign to Help Build the Cybersecurity Workforce [Weekly Cybersecurity Brief]

In a previous post, we covered the initiatives Google launched following its commitment during a high-profile cybersecurity meeting held this summer at the White House. Now, another attendee at that convening is ready to act on its own next steps. Microsoft has announced a new campaign that seeks to play a part in solving the cybersecurity workforce shortage. 

The company recently released plans to partner with community colleges across the country to fulfill resource and education needs to amplify cybersecurity education. According to CNBC, Microsoft aims to “reduce the country’s workforce shortage by half by 2025.” In order to accomplish this, it wants to recruit 250,000 people to the field. Through the campaign, Microsoft said that it will provide free curriculum as well as training programs for faculty and funding for students. As Microsoft President Brad Smith stated, “We should be optimistic that in the next 12-24 months we can start to make a real dent.”

In looking to help expand opportunities, Microsoft has also teamed with Baltimore’s Last Mile Education Fund for the creation of a scholarship that supports low-income students enrolled in two-year college programs and technical schools. With a $6 million grant from Microsoft, scholarship winners will receive financial assistance, LinkedIn premium accounts and access to GitHub. Ultimately, Last Mile Education Fund and Microsoft hope to help 10,000 students.

Inc. Magazine pointed out that Microsoft’s initiative is not necessarily the first of its kind. In 2018 IBM published a report that concluded that filling “new collar” jobs, which require specific skills but not always four-year degrees, often takes a creative approach. That’s why IBM developed a program in 2011 that worked with industry leaders and high school students and grew the program to include community colleges in 2017. But in their similar missions, both campaigns demonstrate an example for businesses, according to the Inc. article. Investing in local community colleges services both local students and future local employees. As Rebecca Deczynski wrote in the piece, “a strong local reputation, paired with an increased investment in the community, may be the key to reducing worker shortages.”

Key Takeaways:

“Microsoft announces plan to cut cybersecurity workforce shortage in half by 2025” – Lauren Feiner, CNBC

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/28/microsoft-aims-to-cut-cybersecurity-workforce-shortage-in-half-by-2025.html

  • Microsoft plans to partner with community colleges across the U.S. to help fill the cybersecurity workforce shortage.
  • Its goal is to recruit 250,000 people to the field.
  • To do so, it will provide free curriculum as well as training programs for faculty and funding opportunities for students.

“With $6M grant from Microsoft, Last Mile Education Fund launches cybersecurity scholarship to invest in 10,000 students” – Donte Kirby, Technical.ly

https://technical.ly/baltimore/2021/10/28/last-mile-education-fund-microsoft-cybersecurity-scholarship/

  • Microsoft has also teamed with Baltimore’s Last Mile Education Fund for the creation of a scholarship that supports low-income students enrolled in two-year college programs and technical schools.
  • Last Mile Education Fund and Microsoft hope to help 10,000 students.
  • With a $6 million grant from Microsoft, scholarship winners will receive financial assistance, LinkedIn premium accounts and access to GitHub.

“Microsoft’s Solve for the Labor Shortage: Partnering with Community Colleges” – Rebecca Deczynski, Inc. 

https://www.inc.com/rebecca-deczynski/microsoft-cybersecurity-job-shortage-community-college-partnership.html

  • Microsoft’s initiative is not necessarily the first of its kind.
  • IBM developed a program in 2011 that worked with industry leaders and high school students and grew the program to include community colleges in 2017.
  • But in their similar missions, both campaigns demonstrate an example for businesses on the importance of investing in local talent.
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