MassCyberCenter recruiting to diversify growing industry

  • In this image made from video, seen though an interior window, employees work in the offices of Secureworks in Atlanta on Oct. 4, 2017. Working off a list supplied by the cybersecurity firm, The Associated Press found that scores of U.S. diplomatic, military and government figures were not told about attempts to hack into their emails even though the FBI knew they were in the Kremlin’s crosshairs.  AP PHOTO/MARINA HUTCHINSON

State House News Service
Published: 9/1/2020 12:27:02 AM

Looking to promote increased diversity within a workforce that is just 5% Black, 7% Latinx and one-third female, the MassCyberCenter at the Mass Tech Collaborative is looking for college students interested in cybersecurity and industry professionals willing to mentor them.

The MassCyberCenter cited research from the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council that found the cybersecurity field “suffers from a lack of diversity.” The center’s new Cybersecurity Mentorship Pilot Program aims to match college students from diverse backgrounds with Massachusetts experts to work together on a cybersecurity-related project.

“Mentorship is widely recognized as a valuable force for promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace,” Stephanie Helm, the retired U.S. Navy captain who serves as director of the MassCyberCenter, said. “The Cybersecurity Mentorship Pilot Program is an exciting opportunity for diverse students to personally connect with a cybersecurity professional who will help them chart a career. These students will have a trusted mentor to offer them advice and support as they embark in this complex and important industry.”

The cybersecurity field has been growing and “has strong demands for talented professionals” in Massachusetts, officials said.

Students and mentors will be paired based on shared interests, will meet virtually to discuss cybersecurity careers and will then jointly take on a project. The MassCyberCenter said students and mentors can either “build, break, secure, and administer a virtual machine; evaluate a cybersecurity policy or procedure for a business; draft a policy recommendation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; create or evaluate a cyber incident response plan; or develop a cyber education and awareness product.”

The work will be presented in a showcase at the conclusion of the pilot program in mid-December. Applications for prospective students and mentors will be accepted until late September, the center said.


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