Designing and Launching Secure Software Development Degree Apprenticeships Partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Panel Session

May, 2022

The May 2022 tech talk was presented by Diana Elliott, Girish Seshagiri, and Nikunja Swain

About the Session

Currently, in the U.S. over one million software developer positions and 600,000 cybersecurity occupations are unfilled due to the lack of available skilled job seekers. At the same time, the percentage of women, minorities and veterans in technology professions continues to be low. In this panel discussion, we describe how a consortium of South Carolina Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is partnering with SC employers to design and launch IT and cybersecurity degree apprenticeship cohorts in fall 2022. The panelists will provide a status update of the exemplar government/industry/academic collaboration which will result in career pathways to technology jobs for cyber security and computer science graduates of HBCUs. The panelists will discuss the requirements of DOL Registered Apprenticeship Program which is a high-quality vocational training model with standard work process including 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 61 academic credit hours. The panelists will present how the HBCU consortium colleges mapped cybersecurity and computer science degree curricula to National Initiative Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Framework competencies for developing software which is secure from cyber-attacks.

About the Presenters

Diana Elliott is a senior fellow in the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at the Urban Institute. Her work focuses on families’ financial security and economic mobility and the programs and policies that support them, including apprenticeships. Elliott is the director of several apprenticeship projects at Urban, including the Apprenticeship Expansion and Modernization Fund, which launched over 1500 apprentices into tech occupations. Prior to Urban, Elliott was a research manager at the Pew Charitable Trusts and a family demographer at the US Census Bureau. Elliott holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Girish Seshagiri Founder/CEO of Nonprofit Apprenticeship Implementation Solutions, Inc is an early adopter of the apprenticeship dual model. Under his leadership, the Community Initiative Center of Excellence for Secure Software (CICESS) was launched in Peoria, Illinois in 2015. CICESS received the 2018 Innovation in Cybersecurity Education Award given by the National Cyberwatch Center. Girish is currently focused on government/industry/academic collaboration partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to design and launch IT and Cybersecurity degree apprenticeship cohorts. Girish is the immediate past co-chair of the NICE Apprenticeship Working Group. Girish has an MBA from Michigan State University.

Nikunja Swain is a professor, department chair, and executive director of center of excellence in cybersecurity at South Carolina State University. Dr. Swain has over 35 years of college level teaching experience and he is a registered professional engineer in South Carolina. Dr. Swain has over 70 conference/journal publications, and number of grants from NSF, DOE, USDA/NIFA, DOD, and others. Dr. Swain is a life senior member of IEEE, a professional member of ACM, a member of SIGITE, and ASEE.

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