PROPEL and Southern Company Announce Launch of Inaugural HBCU-Focused Cybersecurity Consortium

Consortium advances future-focused workforce opportunities, unlocks cyber career pathways

PROPEL, a first-of-its-kind innovation hub for 2-year and 4-year Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), announces the launch of a pioneering cybersecurity consortium. The PROPEL HBCU Cybersecurity Consortium (HCC), created in partnership with Southern Company, was founded on the principles of collaboration, leadership, innovation and foresight.

This Consortium not only unites academia, industry and government but more importantly serves as a nucleus for HBCUs to complement their curriculums to be more industry skill aligned and agile to the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape.

“PROPEL’s consortium will set a benchmark for developing a future workforce that is well equipped to address and solve the cybersecurity needs of today and tomorrow,” said chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company Chris Womack. “Leveraging the insights, tools, resources and access to real-world opportunities that industry and government entities can bring to the table now will help further develop and enrich the transformative skills our future workforce must have. These skills are essential in how we continue to protect our critical infrastructure and be better prepared to face the cyber challenges ahead.”

The HCC is comprised of four pivotal elements: resource hub, professional development, accelerated learning and workforce pipeline. It is designed to facilitate connection between industry, students and faculty with the latest trends, emerging technologies, training and a collaborative space that fosters the development of new courses and opportunities. Additionally, the HCC will provide real-life, challenged-based industry projects, conduct cutting edge research, collaborate with industry leaders and experts and open pathways to employment and beyond.

“The dynamic and ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape has generated a myriad of leading career opportunities that have become critical across virtually every business sector – with a mere nine percent of those individuals being Black professionals,” said PROPEL President Dr. Lisa Herring. “In partnership and collaboration with our co-founder, Southern Company, we’re cracking the code in a sector that is grossly underrepresented by diverse talent and an industry in need of a greatly expanded workforce.”

PROPEL is proud to launch HCC’s first two programs both aimed at elevating HBCU faculty and student expertise and skills in cybersecurity.

  • Faculty Fellows — A curated, year-long engagement and professional development track designed exclusively to upskill cybersecurity educators. This program also offers fellows the financial support to gain critical industry certifications.
  • Student Accelerator — A year-long immersive experience designed for 3rd and 4th year students to advance their skills, knowledge and career preparedness. Students gain access to industry leaders, tools, training, and the latest resources, enabling them to emerge as highly competent professionals ready to tackle the challenges of the cybersecurity industry.

The applications for both programs will be accepted through May 8, 2024.

Currently, 32 HBCUs with cybersecurity curriculum and degree offerings comprise the first consortium institutions. Those institutions include Alabama A&M University, Alabama State University, Albany State University, Benedict College, Bowie State University, Claflin University, Clark Atlanta University, Coppin State University, Delaware State University, Drake State Community Technical College, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Meharry Medical College, Miles College, Mississippi Valley State University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T University, Prairie View A&M University, Southern University Law Center, Southern University and A&M College at Baton Rouge, Southern University and A&M College at New Orleans, Southern University of New Orleans, Stillman College, Tuskegee University, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, University of District Columbia, University of Virgin Islands, West Virginia State University, Winston Salem State University.

The HCC aims to attract more corporate partners and industry experts to forge a robust pipeline of qualified professionals, effectively tackling the cybersecurity talent shortage. For more information about HCC, how to join as an industry partner or to apply for programs visit here.

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