WESTBOROUGH– The MassCyberCenter at the MassTech Collaborative has launched the spring edition of its Cybersecurity Mentorship Program, an effort that aims to increase diversity within the cybersecurity workforce in Massachusetts. Launched as a pilot last September, the Cybersecurity Mentorship Program pairs diverse college students from across the Commonwealth with mentors from the state’s cybersecurity sector.
The program is currently seeking applications from diverse college students with a passion for cybersecurity and industry mentors committed to promoting diversity in the workforce. Students and mentors will be matched based on shared interests, and 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 a career panel focused on cybersecurity “soft-skills.”
In the Massachusetts’ technology and innovation ecosystem, which includes cybersecurity, only five percent of workers are Black, seven percent are Hispanic, and one third are women, according to the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council. The fall 2020 Pilot Program, which included ten student mentees and mentors, confirmed that mentorship from industry professionals can play a powerful role in encouraging diverse student talent to enter the cybersecurity profession. Many of the student mentees reported that they thoroughly enjoyed the experience and were more interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity after participating in the Pilot Program.
Students in the program have the opportunity to choose to 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. At the conclusion of the program, students will present their completed project at a showcase event.
Applications for student and mentor participants will be accepted until Feb. 17. Students and mentors will be paired together in early March and the program will conclude in mid-May 2021 with a showcase event where students will present their completed projects.
For more information on the Cybersecurity Mentorship Program, including how to apply, visit: https://masscybercenter.org/mentorship.