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Organizational Change
New Symantec Initiative Hopes to Close Cybersecurity Workforce Gap

Symantec, one of the world's largest security software companies, has announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind program, the Symantec Cyber Career Connection (SC3), to address the global workforce gap in cybersecurity and provide new career opportunities for young adults who may not be college-bound. The program was announced as a Commitment to Action at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and Symantec’s executive director of the program, Aled Miles.

Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report has shown that the amount of data breaches grew by 62 percent in 2013 and that approximately 552 million identities were exposed worldwide as a result of data breaches. In a world of increased cybersecurity attacks, an estimated 300,000 cybersecurity jobs are vacant in the United States; among those, Symantec says 60,000 could be filled by individuals without a four-year college degree. Demand for cybersecurity professionals is expected to increase as the private sector faces unprecedented numbers of data breaches and cybersecurity threats.

“Symantec is committed to making the world a safer and better place, and as a leader in cybersecurity we believe we can help solve the cyber career gap and move underserved young adults — including people of color, women and veterans — out of low-end jobs and into highly paid and meaningful careers,” said Cecily Joseph, VP of Corporate Responsibility atSymantec. “SC3 will also help us meet the critical needs of our customers and strengthen national security in challenging economic times.”

A pilot of the program will begin in August in New York City, Baltimore and the San Francisco Bay Area, and will be implemented through a network of partners, including Year Up, NPower and LifeJourney, working in conjunction with the Symantec Foundation. The program will expand internationally in future years.

The pilot program will include a cybersecurity curriculum developed by Symantec in partnership with the nonprofits, as well as a virtual mentorship program designed to promote and familiarize students with the industry. Following their training, students will be placed in cybersecurity internships to learn how to be anything from a systems administrator to a network defense technician. Symantec will help program graduates seek jobs through its network of customers and partners.

“This has been a priority for us because six years after the financial crash, many young people are still struggling. In fact, one of the most terrifying statistics is that nearly 6 million young Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 are out of school and out of work, and for those who don’t get a college education or even high school, most doors just won’t open no matter how hard they knock,” Secretary Clinton said. “We want to get to work and it's one of the highest priorities for CGI America and I’m delighted that there is so much interest because ultimately it’s about more than paychecks.”

Secretary Clinton is prioritizing youth employment as one of the key issues for her work at the Clinton Foundation, and believes that business-led initiatives will play a critical role in addressing this important economic challenge. The Clinton Foundation is working closely with businesses and leading nonprofits, economists, and advocates across the country to identify and scale effective ways for companies to address their core business needs through engaging our nation’s opportunity youth. At the 2014 CGI America meeting, Secretary Clinton announced Job One, a major set of commitments — including Symantec’s — focused on improving job pathways for youth in the United States. To facilitate the sharing of best practices, and encourage more companies to adopt youth employment activities, Secretary Clinton also announced at the meeting that CGI will be creating a US Youth Employment Action Network to help CGI members continue to work on this important issue over the year ahead.

“We’re excited to partner on a program that so closely aligns with Year Up’s mission to enable low-income young adults to move from poverty to professional careers,” said Gerald Chertavian, founder and CEO of Year Up, an intensive one-year program that provides participants with six months of technical and professional skills training followed by a six-month corporate internship. “We’ve known that cybersecurity is one of the main subjects that our students are interested in, and as an authority on cybersecurity, Symantec is an ideal partner. This program will open the door for so many young adults to the lucrative cybersecurity field.”

“Our mission is to provide access and opportunity to underserved young adults through our proven tech and professional skills program,” said Stephanie Cuskley, CEO of NPower. “By expanding our existing partnership with Symantec, our New York City program will prepare these talented young adults to obtain industry-recognized CompTIA Network+, Security+ and Ethical Hacker certifications, and permanent employment to ultimately help fill the IT security field talent gap.”

Symantec, together with the Symantec Foundation, is providing financial support, software and human capital in the pilot program. See the SC3 website for complete information.

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