Microsoft announced on Thursday that it will partner with community colleges throughout the country to fill 250,000 cybersecurity positions over the next four years.
Microsoft said it will support around 25,000 students with scholarships or financial help, as well as training for new and existing teachers at 150 community colleges across the country. The corporation also stated that all community colleges and four-year schools in the country will receive free curricular materials.
In a news conference, Microsoft President Brad Smith remarked, "We'll put many tens of millions of dollars behind this effort over the next three years." "This is an excellent opportunity for us to begin. This is not the limit of what we can achieve."
Microsoft's efforts come as the US has been targeted by some of the largest and most sophisticated breaches in history, including the SolarWinds attack, which hit 18,000 entities, including many in the federal government, according to US officials. In August, President Joe Biden met with Microsoft and other significant technology corporations to discuss increasing technology supply chain security.
The White House discussion raised the issue of jobs, with officials claiming that half a million jobs remain unfilled.
Many of Microsoft's customers who have been hacked might have avoided or lessened the damage by implementing better practices, but many lack the cybersecurity experts to do so, according to Smith.
"We definitely need to act rapidly to train individuals to fill what are, really, wonderful positions in our opinion," Smith said, noting that the occupations pay an average of over $105,000 and that one job remains unfilled for every two that are filled.