Jun 23, 2023 - Technology

Google invests $20M in cybersecurity clinics

Illustration of a microchip in blue with the google logo on it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Google is investing $20 million to stand up and expand 20 cybersecurity clinics at universities across the U.S., the company announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Cybersecurity clinics — akin to clinics at law schools where students provide discounted legal aid to specific groups — help local, under-resourced organizations get the cyber assistance they need, while also training a new crop of cyber workers to ease the ongoing worker shortage.

What they're saying: "At Google, we feel a deep sense of responsibility to help people find good-paying jobs in technology," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said during an event in D.C. on Thursday.

  • "We also want to ensure that as a nation, we have a strong cybersecurity workforce to help us stay ahead of new, evolving threats," he added.

Details: Google is working with the Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics to invest $20 million to both create new cybersecurity clinics and expand existing clinics at colleges and universities.

  • Part of the funding will also go toward scholarships for students at these schools who want to get Google's cybersecurity certificate.
  • A Google employee will serve as a mentor for the clinics at most locations, Pichai said.
  • Applications for the funding will open in October, according to Google, and funds will be awarded in March. Selected organizations will receive up to $1 million.

How it works: Cybersecurity clinics bring undergraduate students to the cyber front lines.

  • Typically, students enroll in a class tied to the clinic where they both learn basic cybersecurity skills and partner with local organizations and businesses to create a new cybersecurity strategy for them.

The big picture: Cybersecurity clinics have already started cropping up at a couple universities in recent years.

Between the lines: Google promised in 2021 to invest $10 billion over the following five years to strengthen cybersecurity across the industry.

  • The company also promised to train 100,000 Americans in data privacy and security through its career certificate program. Pichai said Thursday the company has already trained and certified twice that many in the U.S.

Yes, but: Solving the cyber workforce shortage is no small task.

  • The U.S. has enough cybersecurity workers to fill only 69% of the available cyber roles, according to data from CyberSeek.

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