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December 12, 2021

Cheyney University launches new cybersecurity program to address diversity in tech careers

The first 25 students to complete the 6-month course may be eligible for certification and job opportunities

Education Technology
Cheyney University diversity cybersecurity The Office of Governor Tom Wolf/Flickr

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania launched its new cybersecurity program, aimed at enhancing diversity in the science and technological workforce. The program begins in February, and students from Delaware, Philadelphia, and Chester counties who have never been to college are eligible to apply.

As part of an effort to enhance workforce diversity in technology, Cheyney University launched its new cybersecurity program. The six-month course will allow students to receive professional training and enhance the percentage of Cheyney students working towards careers in STEM fields. 

Through funding from the Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education, and with help from creative partnerships with PSECU and AT&T, the hybrid program will begin in February. The first 25 students in the initial cohort of the program may be eligible for professional certification and jobs through an effort by the program's funding partners. 

"We want to help reduce and ultimately eliminate disparity in representation in this professional sector while addressing the needs of cybersecurity," said Kizzy Morris, Cheyney's Provost and Chief Academic Officer. "This is another example of how our public-private partnerships are providing real-life job skills in some of the most innovative and demanding careers." 

Through this and other efforts to increase diversity in workforce development, the nation's first historically Black college has seen an uptick in students majoring in STEM from 13% in 2017-2018 to 25% in fall 2021. The university hopes to see 30% of its student body majoring in biosciences and technical fields within the next two years. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists cybersecurity as one of its fastest growing industries, with a projected 33% growth between 2020 and 2030. 

KYW reports that anyone from Delaware, Chester, and Philadelphia counties who have never been to college before are eligible to apply for the program. 

Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education provided funding for the program through their #Prepared4PA grant initiative, which aims to increase workforce credentialism through creative partnerships. Cheyney's program is the third workforce development plan funded by PSSHE, with previous pilots announced in June 2021 at Shippensburg and Millersville Universities. 

"The communities and regions we serve need creative, workforce-aligned programming like that being produced through the #Prepared4PA program," said Dan Greenstein, state system chancellor. The organization published six competency maps based on their findings of industries that are in-demand. 

These include information technology, energy, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, finance and insurance, and agribusiness. #Prepared4PA says that listing these industries are meant to serve as a "first strong step" toward building resources for Pennsylvania job-seekers, students, and workers.