STEM: Building a Pipeline of Talent in Cybersecurity

If the frequent headlines of breaches and cyberattacks are any indication, there has never been a more important time to invest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based education programs.

This is one of the reasons why this week’s theme for National Cyber Security Awareness Month is Millions of Rewarding Jobs: Educating for a Career in Cybersecurity.

Recent estimates suggest that by 2021 – in just three years – we will see 3.5 million openings in cyber security go unfilled.

Creating pathways

That’s why CenturyLink is helping to build the talent pipeline through STEM school partnerships, like Pathways in Technology for Early College High School, or PTECH. PTECH is an innovative partnership between CenturyLink, Colorado school district Adams 12, Northglenn High School and Front Range Community College.

The program provides curriculum guidance and mentors to middle and high school students targeting STEM programming through high school and into a two-year college program. So far, nearly 100 students are enrolled in the PTECH program at Northglenn High School, completing college level courses in every semester.  Given the time these students spend with their CenturyLink mentors and the time the students spend at the CenturyLink campus, these students will be well positioned for a technology- based career.

Fostering technology and STEM innovation at early ages

But the truth is, we must reach the employees of tomorrow at a much younger age, which is why CenturyLink also promotes STEM learning and innovation through the CenturyLink Teachers and Technology program.

The Teachers and Technology program awards grants to pre-K through 12th grade teachers in CenturyLink’s local service areas and corporate locations who have developed innovative plans to implement technology in their classrooms.

The program has awarded nearly $11 million since its inception, for projects such as creating digital data collection tools for an Ohio high school physics class, incorporating 3D technology in third to fifth grade art classes in Louisiana and bringing virtual reality and robotics to life in a Colorado middle school.

In fact, we recently announced the opening of the 2019 Teachers and Technology application round.

Making every opportunity count

Aside from these flagship programs, CenturyLink employees work hard every day to make a difference in their local communities, from offering tours of our network and security operations facilities to students to hosting cryptography clinics, cybersecurity super hero programs and hackathons.

We’re proud to serve as a Champion of National Cyber Security Awareness Month and to do our part to fill the STEM and cybersecurity skills gap.

To learn more about what you can do to help educate future generations for a career in cybersecurity, follow the conversation online at #CyberAware and visit these sites: