NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Six historically Black universities in five Southern states will be getting the first IBM cybersecurity centers aimed at training underrepresented communities, the company said.
The schools are North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, Xavier University of Louisiana, that state’s Southern University System, South Carolina State, Clark Atlanta and Morgan State universities, according to a news release this week.
"Technology-related services are in constant demand, and cybersecurity is paramount,” said Ray L. Belton, president of the Southern University System based in Baton Rouge.
The centers will give students, staff, and faculty access to modern technology, resources and skills development, said Nikunja Swain, chair and professor of the Computer Science and Mathematics Department at South Carolina State, in Orangeburg.
"It will further enhance our ongoing activities on several key areas, including cybersecurity, data science analytics, cloud computing, IOT, blockchain, design thinking, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence,” he said.
IBM said it plans more than 20 centers at historically Black colleges and universities nationwide.
The company said each school will get customized courses and access to company academic programs. They also will be able to experience simulated but realistic cyberattacks through IBM Security’s Command Center.
“NC A&T State University being chosen as one of the first six HBCU Cybersecurity Leadership Centers is a great privilege that will provide our students with access to top-notch education, technology, and industry professionals and will ensure the future cybersecurity workforce will be diverse, experienced, and capable of protecting this country,” said Hossein Sarrafzadeh, director of the Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity Research, Education and Outreach at N.C. A&T, according to IBM's news release.
The company said it also will provide faculty and students free access to multiple SaaS IBM Cloud environments.
The technology giant also announced a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help veterans transitioning from military service into the workforce and a collaboration to provide job training for neurodiverse workers in 13 countries, including the U.S.