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Youngkin announces partnership with Google and NOVA

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(The Center Square) – Gov. Glenn Youngkin joined Virginia education leaders and Google executives in announcing a new cybersecurity training program with Northern Virginia Community College.

The announcement was made at an event Thursday at the NOVA campus in Alexandria. The new program will offer a Google Career Certificate in cybersecurity, which is proponents say is an emerging technical field.

Google cybersecurity experts designed the program to help job-seekers and employers help fill critical roles, and provide well-paying jobs.

Supporters of the program say the certification can be completed online, part-time, in less than six months. Potential students can access the new certification program through VA Ready, which is a program to help reskill Virginians to fill in-demand positions.

Youngkin touted the program for offering career certifications free for community colleges, which helps serve as an incentive for students considering the cybersecurity field.

“Google provides its Career Certificates for free to community colleges, which creates a gateway to opportunity for those seeking careers in one of Virginia’s fastest-growing fields,” Youngkin said. “We recognize how critical a strong and prepared cybersecurity workforce is to the safety of our Nation and are committed to fostering the next generation of tech talent in Virginia.”

The program is aimed at helping to prepare people for entry-level positions, teaching students how to identify cybersecurity risks and protect networks and devices from cyberattacks. The training will include familiarizing with several different security programs.

Youngkin praised Google and NOVA for helping Virginia spearhead the effort as leaders in the country for cybersecurity.

“It is exciting that Northern Virginia Community College is partnering with global pioneers like Google to establish the commonwealth as the nation’s leader in cybersecurity,” said Youngkin during his visit.

NOVA President Anne M. Kress thanked Google for their partnership and emphasized the importance of expanding opportunities for students interested in the technology sector.

“We are so very proud and grateful to partner with Google to offer our students an exciting new pathway to in-demand credentials,” said Kress. “Since 2019, this innovative public-private partnership has increased opportunities for students to join the technology workforce. We thank the Commonwealth of Virginia for recognizing this accelerated pathway that helps close the skills gap and greatly expands the region’s talent pool.”

The tech company began the Google Career Certificates program in 2018; since then, over 150,000 people have graduated. Google reports that within six months of graduating, 75% of the graduates claim the program has positively impacted their careers.

The company cited the increased need to fill roles in cybersecurity as cyber-attacks are on the rise, targeting “critical infrastructures such as governments, hospitals, electrical grids, schools and businesses,” leaving them vulnerable to attacks. According to CyberSeek, there are more than 750,000 open cybersecurity positions in the country. The group says there are over 60,000 positions available in Virginia.

Google executive Phil Venables, the chief information security officer for Google Cloud, underscored the need to assess cybersecurity risks and fill the talent gap.

“Google has long worked to protect people, businesses and governments by sharing our expertise. However, to address ever-evolving risks, organizations and the workforce alike must shift their way of thinking about the cybersecurity skills gap,” Venables said. “Our cybersecurity certificate is the latest example of how Google is helping to develop the next generation of the cybersecurity workforce.”

The tech company announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor earlier this year to pilot a program for transitioning military members and spouses to offer career assistance. The program provides no-cost Google Career Certificates and Google Cloud Certification for several Virginia bases.

Youngkin applauded the partnership for providing opportunities for Virginians to pursue in-demand, well-paying jobs.

“This public private partnership is forging new pathways to rich, fulfilling careers while also building a strong cybersecurity workforce,” Youngkin said. “This is a real life example of how we are preparing students in the commonwealth with industry recognized credentials for high-paying, in-demand jobs no matter their life’s circumstance.”

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