iQ4 Corporation, a centralized platform, which helps students, academia, business and government collaborate to transform and scale the workforce of the future, announced that it is launching the first Virtual Apprenticeship Program Challenge in cybersecurity.
The goal of the program will be to obtain sponsorships and partnerships from various enterprises and corporations in order to train 10,000 students and provide thousands of cybersecurity apprenticeships over three years. iQ4 will officially launch the program and its enterprise sponsors in Oct. 2019 during Cyber Security Week.
The program aims to foster diversity and inclusion, level the playing field for students, women and veterans and produce a skills marketplace comprised of higher education institutions, students and employers. iQ4’s mission is to lead and create a pathway for students to become qualified and skilled cybersecurity experts of the future.
“We created this program to massively scale workforce preparedness using iQ4’s workforce development platform, content and model designed for all stakeholders,” said Frank Cicio, founder and chief executive officer, iQ4 Corp. “Students will obtain real world experiences that better qualify them to be able to enter the cybersecurity workforce. Being prepared to enter the workforce of today is no small task. This program for students is like a launch pad with booster rockets that will provide them with a platform for lifetime growth and achievement relevant to the pace and scale of business today.”
The mission of the Virtual Apprenticeship Challenge is to address the cybersecurity and technology skills gap by scaling the student and professional workforce to provide immediate value to private sector employees. Students will emerge from the program with industry credentials using an applied learning curriculum that allows them to develop skills in cybersecurity and risk. The iQ4 Virtual Apprenticeship Challenge will also dramatically reduce the cost of corporate training for new college hires.
“iQ4 aims to address the massive cybersecurity skills gap with a learning platform that combines both mentorship and instructor-led courses,” said Jeff Brown, chief information security officer (CISO), Life and Retirement AIG. “The Virtual Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Challenge throws down the gauntlet in its mission to create a pipeline of talent that provides immediate value to the industry and grows a qualified cybersecurity workforce at scale, while fostering values including diversity and inclusion.”
“The iQ4 course combines the real-world power of a virtual industry mentors with iQ4’s expertise in an instructor-led course that creates a powerful cyber talent pipeline,” James R. Stellar, Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University at Albany, SUNY. “The course is low cost to the University but provides a high degree of student experience, engagement, and outcome success. The program provides a strong ROI to the hiring companies by bridging the skills-gap and building a talent pipeline.The result is a much needed model for successful industry-academic collaboration.”
iQ4 will help enable employers to identify and train their future cybersecurity workforce with the digital, scalable apprenticeship programs. The program combines technology with industry-driven standards from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) framework, and content and is led by industry experts.
“By launching this incredible initiative, we are changing the future of the cybersecurity industry,” added Cicio. “There are currently over 300,000 jobs open in cybersecurity and the national cybersecurity workforce is expected to experience a shortfall of two million cybersecurity professionals by 2022. The time to act and develop our students is now and our virtual apprenticeship program is the key to filling jobs, training the workforce of tomorrow and setting standards. We continue to ask, what companies are not up for that challenge?”
How the Virtual Apprenticeship Challenge Works
iQ4 engages with the prospective academic institution on delivering cybersecurity project courses that align to existing credited courses, and then the curriculum is developed in accordance with the needs of the company/sponsoring partner. Student interns, who are selected as part of the program, are assessed over a 14-week virtual mentorship course as potential digital apprentices. The students who perform well are then asked to participate in the digital apprenticeship program with the partner company – which will provide 2000 hours of paid on- the-job training while the student completes his/her academic degree. At the conclusion of the digital apprenticeship, the partner company guarantees the student a full time job upon graduation. iQ4 handles all paperwork and process flows between the company and the students.
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