Microsoft to Tap Community Colleges’ Cyber Talent

Security

Microsoft has announced plans to fill 250,000 cybersecurity roles by working with community colleges across the United States.

As part of the recruitment drive, the American multinational technology corporation said today that it intends to invest millions of dollars in education and teacher training over the next three years.

As of January 2021, there were 936 public community colleges and 73 independent community colleges registered with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in the United States.

Microsoft stated that it will provide training for current and new teachers at 150 community colleges across the nation. The corporation also announced plans to provide scholarships or financial assistance to 25,000 community college students.

To assist educational establishments in stretching their budgets as far as possible, the tech company said it will make curriculum materials freely available to all community colleges and four-year schools in the United States.

Speaking about the funding and recruitment pledge at a press briefing, Microsoft president Brad Smith hinted at more help to come for colleges.

“Over the next three years, we’ll put many tens of millions of dollars behind this effort,” said Smith.

He added: “This is an opportunity for us to get started. This is not the ceiling on what we’ll do.”

A recent report by the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and analyst Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), The Life and Times of Cybersecurity Professionals 2021, showed that the cybersecurity skills gap, identified more than a decade ago, has persisted, and impacts over half (57%) of organizations. 

“The data gathered for this project confirms that there has been no significant progress toward a solution to this problem during the five years it has been closely researched,” said ESG senior principal analyst Jon Oltsik.

The report was based on a global survey of 489 cybersecurity employees at the start of 2021.

“The top ramifications of the skills shortage include an increasing workload (62%), unfilled open job requisitions (38%), and high burnout among staff (38%),” said Oltsik.

“Further, 95% of respondents state the cybersecurity skills shortage and its associated impacts have not improved over the past few years, while 44% say it has only gotten worse.”

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