White House’s National Cyber Director Features HBCU Cybersecurity Initiative From IBM SkillsBuild

Feb 29, 2024 3:00 PM ET

National Cyber Director Coker Remarks at Norfolk State University HBCU Roundtable

At a Black History Month Roundtable held in late February at Norfolk State University, Harry Coker, Jr., the White House’s National Cyber Director, highlighted the Cybersecurity Leadership Centers that IBM co-created with 20 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

The reference to IBM’s Cybersecurity Leadership Development Centers came during Mr. Coker’s remarks on creating a stronger and more diverse cybersecurity workforce. He shared best practices and encouragement for HBCUs laying the foundation for rewarding career opportunities for those who seek to keep the country’s data secure.

At these Leadership Deveopment Centers, where IBM SkillsBuild is used, “IBM is committing to help students and faculty at 20 HBCUs by providing course work lectures, immersive training experiences, [credentials], and more at no cost,” said Mr. Coker.

In 2022, at the National HBCU Week Conference convened by the U.S. Department of Education and the White House, IBM announced its collaboration with 20 HBCUs, including Norfolk State, to help them establish Cybersecurity Leadership Centers.

He cited the IBM cybersecurity leadership development centers as one example of the “unprecedented coordination among academic institutions, employers, nonprofits and incubators, and the Federal Government” to help the country’s meet its cybersecurity needs.

An enhanced version of IBM’s SkillsBuild — offering access to IBM software, immersive learning experiences, and professional development resources -- lies at the heart of the IBM Cybersecurity Leadership Development Centers at the 20 participating HBCUs.

IBM SkillsBuild is a free education program focused on communities that have historically been underrepresented in technology. It helps adult learners, along with high school and university students and faculty, develop valuable new skills and access career opportunities. The program includes an online platform, complemented by customized practical learning experiences delivered in collaboration with a global network of partners.

Visit skillsbuild.org to learn more.