by Eric D. Lehman, Associate Professor, Communications Specialist
University of Bridgeport (UB) is partnering with state businesses and government to provide new initiatives in information cybersecurity and helping Connecticut reach its economic potential.
On August 29, 2022, Governor Ned Lamont, Martin Guay of Stanley Black & Decker, and other corporate leaders and strategic partners from across the state joined together in Stamford to announce Tech Talent Accelerator, one million dollars’ worth of grants to seven public and private institutions, including UB. Sponsored by the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) and the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF), in partnership with the Connecticut Office of Workforce Strategy and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, these grants will help companies build tech talent in high-skill jobs, as well as create new routes from community colleges into industry-aligned B.A. programs like the ones at UB.
“The Tech Talent Accelerator is opening up the minds of business to better understand that our colleges and universities are more than just partners for recruiting entry-level talent. We support systems for lifelong learning,” said UB president Danielle Wilken at the Stamford event. “Through this partnership, we’re helping businesses activate new ways to partner with higher education and create experiences for their employees to retain their talent in a rapidly changing economy.”
The money will help UB launch a new 12-week course in cybersecurity and information security designed specifically for businesses in Southwest Connecticut’s finance and tech sectors. Offered through the School of Engineering, the class will teach students to analyze security models, perform risk assessments, secure systems development, manage crises, and comply with legal and regulatory requirements. The end goal is an interdisciplinary cybersecurity certificate that will align with technology-enabled jobs in the cybersecurity field and allow students to be workforce ready.
Dr. Khaled Elleithy, Dean of the College of Engineering, Business, and Education (EBE) will be responsible for overseeing the course development and implementation of the program at UB. Dr. Elleithy will be supported by faculty and staff/graduate students to teach the curricula and manage the logistical aspects of providing the courses.
“Graduates of this program will be workforce ready as IT cybersecurity professionals,” says Dr. Elleithy. “They may also pursue work as security researchers, forensic analysts, or security architects or continue their graduate studies. Students of the program will have access to a number of resources including UB’s Center for Career Development, a comprehensive career counseling and resource center that connects students to career opportunities and strategic employer partners.”
Many trade associations predict that the field will be one of the fastest growing in the next decade. CyberSeek indicated that in Connecticut there are only enough cybersecurity workers to fill 71% of the cybersecurity jobs that employers demand. Emsi Burning Glass data showed that in Connecticut’s New Haven and Fairfield counties, there were 1,435 job postings for information security analysts.
“We’ve got to have the best-trained and most-productive workforce in the world — that’s Connecticut’s calling card,” Governor Lamont commented at the event. “In the 21st century, if you don’t have the digital skills, you’re not keeping up. That’s what this program is all about.”
UB students are now poised to be part of that workforce, earning themselves high-quality careers and advancing the nation’s cybersecurity in the process. “[UB] has been training students to be leaders in the STEM fields for close to 100 years,” President Wilken announced. “Today, the world is growing more connected and automated and therefore more vulnerable — leading industry and government to emphasize the importance of safe data and information. We are very pleased to offer this important training to the citizens of Connecticut.”
For more information, please contact Dr. Khaled Elleithy at email@example.com.