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Cambridge College Hosts Cyber Diversity & Inclusion Summit

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The 2021 Summit Addresses the Historical Gap in Diversity and Inclusion in the Cybersecurity Workforce

The Power of Diversity: Solving CyberSecurity’s Global Challenges

Cambridge College will host their annual Cyber Diversity and Inclusion Summit, The Power of Diversity: Solving Cybersecurity’s Global Challenges in conjunction with Governor Baker’s Annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October.  In collaboration with the National Security Institute (NSI) and their distinguished leadership, the Summit will focus on addressing the challenge of recruiting and preparing women and people of color for the cybersecurity field, as well as creating opportunities for them to enter the tech industry. The Summit will launch on October 19th and will be delivered as a series of convening events over the next four months.

The opening event will highlight the challenge of enhancing diversity in the tech talent pipeline. The fireside chat will feature Corey Thomas, Chairman and CEO of Rapid7, a leading cybersecurity firm, and Stephanie Browne, VP of Talent Acquisition, Diversity & Inclusion for Blue Cross Blue Shield MA both of whom will share their unique perspectives on strategies to address this challenge in the workforce.

“Our goal in presenting this summit is to support Governor Baker’s efforts to address the talent shortfalls and challenges of the cybersecurity industry. Three years ago the College made a strategic commitment to focus on providing access for women and people-of-color to opportunities in the field of emerging technologies.  Increasing diversity in this sector is critical to address equity of opportunity and access to talent, both of which limit the innovation potential of an ever-expanding technology industry,” notes Deborah C. Jackson, President of Cambridge College.  

In March of 2020, Cambridge College formalized a partnership with NSI at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School to address the pervasive lack of under-represented groups in the technology industry, specifically within cybersecurity roles.  With more open positions each year than there are skilled applicants, cybersecurity professionals are in high demand and this partnership aims to expand the inclusion of women and people of color in the cybersecurity workforce.   In addition to linking students to noteworthy cybersecurity leaders and professionals, the partnership will collaborate on providing hands-on experience to a diverse group of students in the technology, cyber, and national security space through NSI’s Nat Sec + Tech Diversity internship program launching in 2022.

The talent pipeline shortage in the tech industry has led to an estimated one million unfulfilled jobs in the US in 2020, with many companies at a loss regarding how to address these gaps.  The significant underrepresentation of women and people of color is reflected by current data that shows Blacks represent 7.9%, Hispanics 6.8% and women only 25% of the cybersecurity workforce.

“It is imperative that we diversify and build a stronger cyber and tech pipeline to address the significant talent shortfall in the workforce.  This effort, and the comprehensive approach of Cambridge College to raise awareness on the topic, will help to lift communities and individuals that have for too long been unable to access of this emerging field,” added Gary Evee, CEO of Evee Consulting and NSI Fellow. 

To be successful in creating a more diverse workforce for this industry, an introduction to the career at an early age is very important.   To do this, Cambridge College launched the CyberSummer Academy to build awareness and to ensure pathways to the field of cybersecurity for k-12 youth from across the Commonwealth.  The program was created in collaboration with industry and school partners in order to ensure relevant and focused experience for students and to encourage them to consider future careers in the tech industry.

“To change the landscape for women and people of color in the tech industry requires a multi-dimensional partnership approach, states President Jackson. “We are doing this by creating a CyberSummer Academy to introduce youth to the tech talent pipeline earlier; developing a range of cybersecurity programs to meet the specific needs of industry for talent; and establishing partnerships like the one with NSI, to ensure students are meaningfully engaged with industry even before they graduate.”

RSVP for October 19th event