IBM has announced a new partnership with 20 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to address the cybersecurity skills gap by setting up Cybersecurity Leadership Centers. 

According to a recent study by IBM, organizations that don’t have sufficient security teams experience $550,000 more in costs related to data breaches compared to companies with sufficiently staffed security teams. 

Faculty and students at these 20 schools will be able to access coursework, lectures, immersive training experiences, certifications, IBM Cloud-hosted software, and professional development resources, for free. 

This includes access to IBM Security’s Command Center, where students can experience a simulated cyberattack to learn and practice response techniques.

“Collaborations between academia and the private sector can help students prepare for success. That’s especially true for HBCUs because their mission is so vital,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, vice president of IBM corporate social responsibility and ESG. “The Cybersecurity Leadership Centers we’re co-creating with Historically Black College and Universities epitomize our commitment to the Black community and STEM education; it also builds on our pledge to train 150,000 people in cybersecurity over three years.”

The HBCUs that are part of this partnership include Alabama A&M University, Talladega College, Tuskegee University, Edward Waters University, Florida A&M University, Albany State University, Clark Atlanta University, Grambling State University, Southern University System, Xavier University of LA, Bowie State University, Morgan State University, Alcorn State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, South Carolina State University, Voorhees University, Texas Southern University, Norfolk State University, and West Virginia State University.