A cybersecurity training program that began at Baltimore’s historically black universities is expanding to more universities around the state.
The Cyber Warrior Diversity Program began in 2017 at Morgan State University and Coppin State University. Baltimore-based tech training company Digit All City worked with the universities as well as Northrop Grumman to establish a program that provided students with certifications that are required for clearances for cybersecurity work by the U.S. Department of Defense and other government agencies.
Under a bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly this year, the Cyber Warrior Diversity Program will expand to Baltimore City Community College, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Starting in 2020, the governor must provide $2.5 million in funding the program. The legislation was sponsored by State Sen. Barbara Robinson (D-Baltimore), and signed last month by Gov. Larry Hogan.
“If you are looking to have diversity in this industry there’s no way you can achieve that if you are not looking at institution that are producing the majority of the talent,” Morgan State University President David Wilson said Tuesday at a press conference on the bill held at Coppin State University.
Along with providing training, the effort seeks to prepare students to work at roles within Maryland’s federal agencies and government-focused firms. Wilson said the program is among a number of efforts by the university, including a cybersecurity lab in Baltimore and an effort to connect students with internships at tech companies in Silicon Valley.
“We want those students right here in Maryland,” Wilson said. Of the students getting experience in California, he said, “I’m saying to them, you can go out there and get that experience but the opportunities are right back here in our state.”
Among the participants is Morgan State student Jayrell Cephas, who went on to intern at Northrop Grumman.
“I’ve had the chance to talk to leadership at a company that I used to dream and pray I’d have the chance to work at one day,” he said.