Microsoft announced on Thursday that it will partner with community colleges in providing a free curriculum across the U.S. and provide free resources in an attempt to help end a shortage in cybersecurity workers. They will also provide training for faculty at 150 community colleges and give scholarships and resources to 25,000 students as part of the effort.
The company aims to help train and hire 250,000 people in the workforce of cybersecurity thus believing it can reduce the country’s workforce shortage by half by 2025.
Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a press conference on Thursday, “We think we can make a meaningful difference in solving half of the cybersecurity jobs shortage. We should be optimistic that in the next 12-24 months we can start to make a real dent.”
The campaign will not only address the shortage but will also play an important role in diversifying the industry. Microsoft found 80% of cybersecurity jobs are held by people who are white and men hold 82.4% of cybersecurity jobs in the US. According to their compiled data, 57% of community college students in the U.S are women and 40% of students identify as African American, Black or Hispanic.
Microsoft said it would spend $20 billion over five years to distribute more up to date security tools and invest $150 million to help government agencies widen training partnerships in cybersecurity and enhance their security systems.
Both the private sector and government officials have pointed to the workforce shortage as a persistent problem as they try to take on potential risks associated with cybercrime.