“This has been a priority for us because six years after the financial crash, many young people are still struggling. In fact, one of the most terrifying statistics is that nearly six million young Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 are out of school and out of work, and for those who don't get a college education or even high school, most doors just won't open no matter how hard they knock. We want to get to work and it's one of the highest priorities for CGI America and I'm delighted that there is so much interest because ultimately it's about more than paychecks.” – Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator
The launch of a new initiative: the SC3
On June 24, 2014, Symantec officially launched its new signature initiative, the Symantec Cyber Career Connection (SC3), at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in Denver, CO. The SC3 aims to address the global workforce gap in cybersecurity by training and certifying young adults in cybersecurity and assisting them in landing meaningful internships and jobs.
Addressing large-scale societal issues
It is clear that many companies are ill-equipped to handle the growing problem of cyber crime. Data breaches are becoming all-too common. In 2012, there was only one data breach in which more than 10 million identities were exposed. In 2013, there were 8 of these breaches. In total, more than 550 million people’s identities were exposed last year.
As a result, the market for cybersecurity jobs is large. In 2013, there were more than 200,000 postings for positions related to cyber security, representing nearly 10% of all information technology positions. However, it has proved difficult to fill these positions. Cybersecurity postings remained open 36 percent longer than the average job posting, and many of these positions request qualifications that are in limited supply. Yet, it has been estimated that 60,000 of these jobs could be filled by individuals without a college degree.
Meanwhile, unemployment among young adults (18-29) remains above 15%, more than double the national rate for all ages.
These numbers describe the unacceptable position in which our interconnected world now finds itself. The skills gap in the cybersecurity field is unsustainable. Symantec recognizes this problem, and we are using our knowledge, skills, and resources to do something about it.
Piloting the initiative
To conduct the SC3 initiative, Symantec has entered into partnerships with two nonprofit organizations—Year Up and NPower—to develop educational programs for underserved young adults (ages 18-29) in the field of cybersecurity information. The participants of the programs will receive industry-recognized certifications, such as CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+, which will greatly increase their earning potential.
A number of our client companies will also become partners to the initiative by providing internships and permanent positions in cyber security. Symantec, together with the Symantec Foundation, will provide $2 million to the pilot, and our employees will serve as trainers and mentors in the programs.
The first class of 45 participants in three pilot locations (New York City, SF Bay Area, and Baltimore) will start in August of this year. They will complete the educational component of the programs within six months, and by February 2015, they will have begun their internships at partner companies. By September 2015, the participants will be qualified for permanent employment in entry-level cybersecurity positions.
Creating shared value for Symantec and society
While a number of existing initiatives share certain elements with the Symantec Cyber Career Connection, this is the only single, accessible pathway for underserved populations to access long-term cybersecurity careers.
In terms of benefits to our company, there is growing evidence that employee engagement and volunteering creates significant business value for companies. Symantec-sponsored initiatives such as the SC3 thus provide a two-fold benefit for the company: increasing loyalty among employees, and strengthening relationships with the broader technology community.
By serving as a model that can be scaled to broader populations across the U.S. and the globe, the SC3 reinforces Symantec’s position as an industry leader, and helps address an issue that will continue to grow in importance in the coming years.
“Symantec is committed to making the world a safer place. Our history as the leader in cybersecurity makes us the ideal partner to help close the cybersecurity skills gap while helping underserved young adults develop meaningful careers.”
–Cecily Joseph, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Symantec