Microsoft to work with US community colleges to fill 250,000 cybersecurity jobs
Image: Kārlis Dambrāns (Flickr)
Catalin Cimpanu October 29, 2021

Microsoft to work with US community colleges to fill 250,000 cybersecurity jobs

Microsoft to work with US community colleges to fill 250,000 cybersecurity jobs

  • Microsoft to provide free curriculum to ~4,000 accredited higher education institutions in the US.
  • Microsoft will provide training for faculty at 150 community colleges.
  • The tech giant will also provide 25,000 scholarships as part of this initiative.

Microsoft announced on Thursday a plan to work with community colleges across the US to help train 250,000 cybersecurity professionals in the next four years, by 2025, in order to fill the country’s cybersecurity workforce shortage.

The company’s commitment, detailed yesterday by Microsoft President Brad Smith, will include:

  • Providing training for the faculty of 150 community colleges.
  • Providing free curriculum to thousands of US public community colleges.
  • Providing scholarships and supplemental resources to 25,000 students.

Smith explained the decision to partner with US community colleges because they are cheaper to attend, are more diverse in terms of graduates, are located in every US state, and are more flexible with their students’ programs.

US-colleges-Microsoft-program
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft’s announcement this week comes to fulfill a promise made to the White House in late August when some of the US’ largest tech firms pledged the Biden administration they’d invest in community initiatives to improve the country’s cybersecurity resilience in the face of rising cyberattacks.

Microsoft said it would invest more than $20 billion over the next five years into its security products, as well as $150 million to help US government agencies upgrade protections.

As part of this initiative, Google also promised to invest more than $10 billion over the next five years in programs to improve and promote zero-trust network architectures, secure supply chains, and enhance the security of open-source programs.

In addition, Google also promised to help train more than 100,000 Americans in fields like data IT Support and Data Analytics, which Google deemed crucial skills needed in the data privacy and security fields.

More than 450,000 cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled in the US

The focus of both companies in establishing workforce training programs comes after numerous industry studies and surveys have discovered a massive shortage of cybersecurity professionals to fill jobs across both the US public and private sectors.

“For almost every two cybersecurity jobs in the United States today, a third job is sitting empty because of a shortage of skilled people,” Smith said.

“Currently there are 464,200 open jobs in the United States that require cybersecurity skills. They account for 6% of all open jobs in the country,” the Microsoft President added.

“That’s right – more than one out of every 20 open jobs in America today is a job that requires cybersecurity skills.”

Smith said the decision to go this route also came after a series of recent hacks on US companies where Microsoft provided assistance and where security-trained personnel that could have detected or stopped the attack were missing.

Catalin Cimpanu is a cybersecurity reporter for The Record. He previously worked at ZDNet and Bleeping Computer, where he became a well-known name in the industry for his constant scoops on new vulnerabilities, cyberattacks, and law enforcement actions against hackers.