In an effort to fill the US’s cybersecurity workforce gap and stay ahead of changing threats, Google has pledged $20 million to open additional hands-on cybersecurity clinics.
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Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google, unveiled the effort Thursday at an event in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the US Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics.
“This funding will help to establish and expand cybersecurity clinics at 20 higher education institutions across the United States,” Pichai stated.
During his speech, the CEO also mentioned “AI as one of the most critical technologies that will impact national security over the next decade.”
According to PIchai, the free clinics will provide students with more opportunity to study, similar to how law and medical institutions provide free clinics in their communities.
“They give students the opportunity to learn and improve their skills while also helping to protect critical infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, and energy grids,” he added.
Investing in the cyber workforce of America
According to the Consortium, each selected community college, university, or college will receive up to $1 million to improve access and opportunities for students interested in cybersecurity careers.
Many of the hands-on learning clinics will have volunteer mentors from Google who are experts in their field.
Schools that want to be selected for the program begin the application process in October 2023, but administrators can learn more about how to apply on Google’s website.
The tech giant launched a brand-new cybersecurity Google Career Certificate last month, which is now a part of the initiative.
No prior experience is required to enroll in the new Google Cybersecurity Certificate, which can be earned in as little as three months. Students who are unable to afford the certificate training will also be eligible for scholarships.
According to Pichai, Google’s certificate program has already trained and certified more than 200,000 people in the US and more than 500,000 people worldwide.
In addition, Google announced a brand-new collaboration with a number of universities in New York to enhance career opportunities, enhance security education, and stoke innovation.
Pichai stated that the clinics will also receive a complimentary Titan Security Key from Google that is resistant to phishing in order to implement two-factor authentication.
Risk mitigation and the skills gap
Over 750,000 cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled in the US, according to Google.
More than ten million American workers have been trained and prepared for entry into the technology industry by the Grow with Google core initiative, which has partnered with thousands of organizations since 2017.
Pichai talked about the beginnings of his career at Google and working on the Chrome browser.
Pichai stated, “Security was critical to the work I did.”
The CEO stated, “Today, it is fundamental to everything we do, and the current inflection point in AI is assisting us in taking our efforts to the next level.”
Google executives hope that the new clinic program will also contribute to increasing the diversity of security industry workers, which is statistically underrepresented in terms of Hispanic, Black, and female workers.
The CEO said that in 2022, there would be 38% more cyberattacks worldwide, putting critical infrastructure like governments, hospitals, and electrical grids at greater risk.
He stated that these attacks have resulted in billions of dollars in losses for the US economy over the past five years.
“To keep up with new and evolving threats, we need a strong cybersecurity workforce as a nation.”