Urban Institute Announces Launch of Innovative Degree-Based Apprenticeship Program in Cybersecurity at South Carolina HBCUs

Contact: media@urban.org, (202) 261-5709

November 19, 2021 – Today the Urban Institute announced the launch of a new degree-based registered apprenticeship program in cybersecurity in collaboration with South Carolina State University (SCSU), ISHPI Information Technologies Inc., Integer Technologies LLC, and a consortium of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in South Carolina including Voorhees and Benedict Colleges.

This innovative apprenticeship program brings together Urban Institute researchers, HBCU faculty, and South Carolina employers to address the cybersecurity skills shortage in South Carolina. The consortium’s apprenticeship program, supported with technical assistance from Urban’s Apprenticeship Modernization and Expansion Fund contract from the US Department of Labor, will create a pathway to high-quality and rewarding careers in cybersecurity and IT for HBCU students and help meet employer demand for positions in these fields in South Carolina and nationally.

Urban is providing technical assistance to SCSU and the consortium to help design, launch, and implement the registered apprenticeship program in cybersecurity.

“Students of color face systemic barriers to entering the cybersecurity field,” said Diana Elliott, principal research associate at the Urban Institute. “This innovative degree-based registered apprenticeship program at HBCUs will help develop highly skilled workers and launch successful, well-paying careers in a field with great demand for talent.”

“South Carolina State University is glad to be part of this innovative and one-of-a-kind program,” said Nikunja Swain, chair of the Computer Science and Mathematics Department at South Carolina State University. “This competency-based degree apprenticeship program will enhance the theoretical knowledge and skills of our HBCU computing graduates with much needed practical experience working with the employers, getting financial help while continuing with their program of study, and increase the possibility of getting hired after completion of degree. This project will help us to produce a robust pipeline of skilled professionals to address the information technology/systems and cybersecurity requirements of employers, including federal agencies.”  

"Integer is thrilled to collaborate with the Urban Institute, SCSU, Benedict, and other SC-based HBCUs on this innovative effort,” said Duke Hartman, chief executive officer and cofounder at Integer Technologies, a South Carolina–based defense research company and the first employer in the country to sign up for the program. “We believe that America's science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce should look like America. We hope this program inspires more students of color to pursue STEM degrees and join us in the national security workforce."

“ISHPI has its origins in Mount Pleasant, SC, with a track record of providing cybersecurity services to federal employers in the low country. It is an honor to collaborate with the Urban Institute; South Carolina State University, the premier public HBCU in the state; Integer Technologies LLC; and the SC HBCU consortium to address the cybersecurity skills shortage in South Carolina statewide by launching an employer-led cybersecurity degree apprenticeship cohort,” said Earl Bowers, president and chief strategy officer of ISHPI.

About the Urban Institute

The nonprofit Urban Institute is a leading research organization dedicated to developing evidence-based insights that improve people’s lives and strengthen communities. For 50 years, Urban has been the trusted source for rigorous analysis of complex social and economic issues; strategic advice to policymakers, philanthropists, and practitioners; and new, promising ideas that expand opportunities for all. Our work inspires effective decisions that advance fairness and enhance the well-being of people and places.