Opportunity Hub [OHUB], GET Cities, and The Links, Incorporated Partner to Increase Black Women in Cybersecurity

In collaboration with GET Cities, The Links, Incorporated, and IBM Skillsbuild, Opportunity Hub has launched a new initiative to promote gender and racial equity in tech by working to increase the number and proportion of women of color in in-demand fields with a special focus on cybersecurity.

[Atlanta, Georgia] Opportunity Hub [OHUB], Gender Equality in Tech (GET) Cities, IBM Skillsbuild, and The Links, Incorporated, and their Links. Economic. Empowerment. Platform (LEEP) announced the  Black Women in Cyber Initiative at The Links, Incorporated’s 43rd National Assembly hosted in Baltimore, Maryland June 29 through July 3. This partnership will advance the number and proportion of Black women in the field of cybersecurity by providing early exposure, expert-led training, employer-recognized certificates, and resources that will prepare women for the high-growth field of cybersecurity.

With this initiative, Black women will finally have the opportunity to enter this rapidly expanding field and change their careers, and investment prospects to both contribute and unlock the great potential for innovation, leadership, creativity, and investment in cybersecurity,” said Kieran Blanks, Chief Growth Officer of Opportunity Hub.  “More importantly, the women in this program will begin a journey of transformation to ready themselves and others in their families and communities for the economic opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This is an important undertaking that will have far-reaching effects across all areas of their lives- that’s why this is important.”

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the global cost of cybercrime is expected to reach 6 trillion dollars by the end of this year, and 10.5 trillion dollars by 2025. Even as companies boost their digital security teams to stay safe online, there are still disproportionately fewer women and minorities in cybersecurity roles. As Fortinet’s 2022 Cybersecurity Skills Gap Report indicates, 77% of leaders reported hiring women to be challenging, while 61% stated it was difficult to hire minorities. Thanks to this new initiative, this is changing. Black Women in Cyber Initiative will provide women of color greater access to cybersecurity training, which will empower them to be job-ready and become strong contributors to the field. To ensure the success of this important initiative, IBM Skillsbuild will be sponsoring women who complete cybersecurity training on the platform for the Fortinet Training Institute certification exam. This extra support will help to ensure that more women are able to enter the field of cybersecurity and help to close the current representation gaps.

 “Our research points to the need for early exposure to cybersecurity career options for women and girls, as a way of countering the barriers that disproportionately eliminate diverse talent from entering the industry,” said GET Cities (DC) Managing Director, Ayanna Smith. “Helping women understand the factors that impact their ability to pass background checks and attain security clearances can have a huge impact on the number of women of color who become qualified to fill the thousands of cybersecurity jobs that remain vacant each year.”    

Under this new partnership, GET Cities will make a strategic investment to leverage the national profile and top-rated training programs of Opportunity Hub to expose up to 350 women of color to definitive employer-recognized cybersecurity certificate programs.  The goals of this new partnership include:

  • Promoting cybersecurity as an entrepreneurial, investment, and career path through webinars, Ask Me Anythings with industry professionals, and events and experiences with The Links, Incorporated to effectively reach more Black women

  • Onboarding up to 500 women of color with complimentary access to OHUB’s curated learning paths on IBM Skillsbuild e.g.Culture of Work, Amazing Archetypes, Introduction to Cybersecurity Essentials, etc.

  • Increasing the number of Black women enrolled in OHUB’s nationwide network of top-rated Cybersecurity reskilling bootcamps

Benefits include:

  • Specialized masterclasses featuring cybersecurity experts.
  • Membership in OHUB and free access to the NSE 1-7 Certification program
  • Assistance from advisors and industry experts to enroll in top-rated immersive training programs such as Kingsland University
  • Cybersecurity job placement assistance and career coaching

“Women of African descent are not a monolith,” said Dr. Kimberly Jefferies Leonard, National President of The Links, Incorporated. “We have expertise in numerous fields, and that includes tech. I am happy that more and more Black women are not only seeking these types of careers, specifically in Cybersecurity, but thriving in them. The Links, Incorporated is happy to partner with OHUB, SecondMuse Foundation, GET Cities, and IBM SkillsBuild to help provide a pipeline for even more of these African-ancestored women to access this career through learning opportunities.”

About Opportunity Hub
Opportunity Hub (OHUB), co-founded in 2013 in Atlanta, GA by Rodney and Shanterria Sampson as a follow-up to the highly successful Kingonomics’ book release and large-scale conferences, is the leading technology, startup, and venture ecosystem development platform created to ensure everyone, everywhere has a path to multi-generational wealth creation with no reliance on pre-existing multi-generational wealth. Today, OHUB is the parent holding company of a suite of businesses committed to increasing racial equity in the fourth industrial revolution; including a not-for-profit foundation and an ecosystem enablement investment fund, 100 Black Angels & Allies Fund.

About GET Cities
GET Cities is an initiative designed to accelerate the representation and leadership of women in tech through the development of inclusive tech hubs across the United States. Launched in 2020, GET Cities is led by SecondMuse and Break Through Tech, in partnership with Pivotal Ventures, the investment and incubation company created by Melinda French Gates. Now in Chicago, and the DC Metro Area, GET Cities launched in Miami in January 2022.

About The Links, Incorporated
The Links, Incorporated is an international, not-for-profit corporation, established in 1946. The membership consists of more than 16,000 professional women of African descent in 292 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and the United Kingdom. It is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of extraordinary women who are committed to enriching, sustaining, and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry.

About IBM Skillsbuild
IBM SkillsBuild brings together two world-class platforms under one brand to help students, job seekers, and organizations opt into the learning experience that’s right for them.In collaboration with partners, IBM SkillsBuild provides adult learners with a free, IBM state-of-the-art, project-based learning path, built to suit an entry-level “hot” tech job opportunity they can actually apply for. Additionally, the IBM SkillsBuild for Job Seekers platform provides free, online learning, credentials, mentoring, and hands-on job experience to help job seekers prepare for in-demand entry-level jobs in technical fields. Built by experts and educators from the business world, SkillsBuild helps any job seeker, anywhere, get career-ready—at no cost.