To address the lack of diversity in cybersecurity and close the shortfall of over 700,000 professionals nationwide, CYBER.ORG announced the expansion of Project REACH, an HBCU feeder program funded by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), to train and recruit a diverse body of K-12 students for future cybersecurity careers.
CYBER.ORG is a workforce development organization funded by CISA. Project REACH aims to diversify the cybersecurity workforce by ensuring all students have equal access to cybersecurity education. By leveraging CYBER.ORG’s curriculum, students will be exposed to the foundational and technical skills needed to pursue careers in the cybersecurity industry.
Following the successful launch of the pilot program at Grambling State University, Project REACH has expanded to 10 additional Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that intend to join the national program, including:
- Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland
- Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina
- Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee
- Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma
- Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri
- Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland
- Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina
- Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina
- Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
- Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia
The onboarding of ten new HBCUs highlights the need to improve cybersecurity literacy nationwide and provide high school students with better access to cybersecurity education, cybersecurity skills development resources, and opportunities to pursue mentorships and careers in the field.
Additional HBCUs are also considering joining Project REACH in the coming months. With CISA’s support, introducing this type of training to K-12 students addresses the lack of diversity in the cybersecurity workforce, exacerbated by unequal access to K-12 cybersecurity education.
“This collaboration between universities and high schools will be critical to solving the cybersecurity workforce shortage and introducing students to cybersecurity careers at a young age,” said Laurie Salvail, Director of CYBER.ORG. “The pilot program at Grambling State University proved to be incredibly successful in partnering with local high schools, and we’re thrilled to be replicating this model to more HBCUs nationwide thanks to CISA.”
A recent EdWeek study revealed that students in small and high-poverty school districts are significantly less likely to be exposed to cybersecurity education, resulting in lower-income and minority students having significantly fewer pathways to entry into this critical field of study.
By integrating CYBER.ORG curricula within local high school course offerings and increasing interest in enrollment at the local HBCUs, the expanded feeder program will introduce more students to the possibility of cybersecurity careers.
To learn more about Project REACH, visit https://cyber.org/initiatives/project-reach.