IBM is partnering with Dutchess Community College to help military veterans and try to fill the growing skill gap in the cybersecurity field.
The company and school are offering veterans free enrollment in a program covering cybersecurity and fraud detection, a field rife with job opportunities.
By 2022, the gap between the number of cybersecurity professionals and the number of unfilled positions is expected to grow to 1.8 million, according to Shelia Appel, U.S. regional director of corporate citizenship at IBM.
“This helps fill that skill gap in a big way,” she said.
DCC premiered the Veteran Employment Accelerator program this week, allowing veterans to earn a certification in fraud analytics and cybersecurity. The program, which would normally cost several thousand dollars, is free for the veterans through grants from IBM.
The program ties in with IBM’s goal to hire 2,000 veterans over the next four years, Appel said.
“Veterans cultivate skills in the military that are invaluable in the workplace,” she said. “This program is designed to hone our local veterans’ expertise by equipping them with software-certification and job-placement assistance in high-growth, ‘new-collar’ careers.”
IBM estimates the program’s cost at about $400,000 per year, she said.
Former Marine Sgt. Zack Kirchner, 27, of LaGrange, joined the corps in 2008 and served until 2012. As a student in the program, he said the course has several benefits.
“It’s more than just a skill set that could help with my career,” he said. “It’s a good tool to have.”
The Veteran Employment Accelerator is offered at about 30 locations in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
More than 500 veterans received the training, and 99 percent of them earned the certification. About 100 of those who earned the certification have gotten jobs as a specific result of this training, Appel said.