FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Applications Open for Fall Cybersecurity Mentorship Program
Open to Diverse Undergraduate Students with a Strong Interest in Cybersecurity
WESTBOROUGH, MASS. – The MassCyberCenter at the MassTech Collaborative has opened the fall 2021 application window for its Cybersecurity Mentorship Program, an effort that aims to increase diversity within the cybersecurity workforce in Massachusetts by pairing diverse college students with mentors from the state’s cybersecurity sector.
Launched as a pilot in September 2020, the program is open to diverse undergraduate students, including those who are Black, Latinx, and women, who attend either a two- or four-year college in Massachusetts, and have a strong interest in cybersecurity. The program is also seeking industry mentors who are committed to promoting diversity within the cybersecurity workforce.
“The Cyber Mentorship program has been successful in introducing diverse students from across Massachusetts to mentors who shared their technical expertise, career insights, and guidance on how to succeed in a cyber-focused job,” said Carolyn Kirk, Executive Director of the MassTech Collaborative. “This program is a critical bridge for these talented students to get established in a cyber career.”
“Training a skilled workforce is critical to our economic recovery, and programs like this help ensure we remove limitations that historically have restricted access to opportunities in these important fields,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “I want to commend the MassCyberCenter for their inclusive approach and look forward this program’s results.”
Details on the program, including student and mentor applications, can be found at: https://masscybercenter.org/mentorship. Applications for the fall 2021 are due by September 17, 2021.
Following submission, students and mentors will be matched based on shared interests. Once paired up, they will meet virtually one-to-one to discuss cybersecurity careers and work together on a cybersecurity-related project. Student mentees will also attend information sessions on cybersecurity companies and participate virtually in cybersecurity career panels. The program will conclude in mid-December 2021 with a showcase event where students will present their completed projects.
“A real challenge for underrepresented workers is feeling a part of this tech field and sticking with a cybersecurity career long-term,” said Stephanie Helm, Director of the MassCyberCenter. “Our hope is that these mentorship relationships last beyond a single semester and the students gain a strong advocate and trusted advisor who they can continue to learn from throughout their career.”
To date, the program has graduated 28 students from 16 schools across Massachusetts. Students were mentored by employees of 17 organizations, including leading cybersecurity, healthcare, defense, and financial services firms, highlighting the importance of these roles across sectors.
“The diversity issues in tech are a challenge that MassTech has tackled head on, through workforce programs like the Cyber Mentorship program, but also through entrepreneur mentoring and support for diversity-focused organizations,” said Damon Cox, Assistant Secretary for Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Technology at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, who serves as chair of the MassTech Collaborative Board. “Through the Cyber Strategy Council and the annual Cyber Forum, we’ve heard from employers about the critical need for workers and to bring new problem solving talent to the sector. The Cyber Mentorship program is a direct response to address both of those challenges.”
The MassCyberCenter was launched in September 2017 with a vision to enhance opportunities for the Massachusetts cybersecurity ecosystem to compete as the national cybersecurity leader while strengthening the resiliency of the Commonwealth’s public and private communities. Learn more at www.masscybercenter.org.