(SEE PHOTOS BELOW) The topic was “Solving the Cybersecurity Staffing Crisis” and the enthusiastic audience in Merritt’s Student Lounge on Friday, March 10, was made up of everyone who should have an interest in this issue: students, faculty, administrators, employers, politicians, and community members.
This first Cybersecurity Employer/Industry Day was planned to showcase Merritt’s Cybersecurity Program and give students and employers the chance to meet and talk about career opportunities. The event was highlighted by a videoconference with Congressman Ro Khanna from Washington, D.C. ,who presides over Silicon Valley, has made it a top priority to address the shortage of trained cybersecurity workers, and is a big proponent of Merritt’s program. “This country has about 220,000 unfilled jobs in cybersecurity,” said Congressman Khanna in a recent interview. “How do we take Merritt College’s Cybersecurity Program and do that across the country?”
Other prominent speakers included District Chancellor Jowel LaGuerre, Merritt President Marie-Elaine Burns, Trustees Bill Withrow and Karen Weinstein, and David Silver, Education Director for the Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf. Also in attendance was Sidney Brown, assistant to Oakland Councilmember Delsey Brooks. In addition, a panel of students and employers discussed training and the solutions that could be brought to Bay Area organizations.
Nearly a dozen employers from Bay Area companies such as Jacobian Engineering, Wente, and EFI in Fremont attended the event and became acquainted with students one-on-one to talk about their backgrounds and opportunities.
The Cybersecurity Program at Merritt was created two years ago by Merritt faculty and security executives from the Silicon Valley CISE group who predicted the increase in cybersecurity jobs and worked with Merritt to plan the fully accredited Applications and Infrastructure Security Program. The program, soon to graduate its second class, leads students to Associate’s Degrees in either one of those specializations.
The successful event was planned by an active committee led by Program Director Anita Black and co-creators Mark Egan, Partner at StrataFusion, and Jim Cates, President of LOBI Group, LLC.
Photos by Birhon Quizhpe
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