Earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to attend a graduate degree from Roxbury Community College, with a keynote address from ThreatX CEO Gene Fay. This wasn’t a typical graduation, but rather a celebration of 14 amazing people whose results are truly inspiring. These students took part in a unique program called the Roxbury Community College Networking Technology Program, founded and designed by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission [MRC], an organization focused on bridging the skills gap and diversifying our workforce. MRC created this program specifically to provide cybersecurity training and opportunities to people with disabilities, and as a result, every student in this class dropped out of this program with a certificate in Cisco Cybersecurity, a substantial achievement. Students have spent hundreds of hours completing this course so that they can pursue careers in cybersecurity; some were just starting out, others had years of experience behind them, and many were pursuing a lifelong dream. MRC, along with his instructor and family support, made these dreams not only possible, but achievable.
Initiatives like these play an important role in addressing the continuing shortage of cybersecurity skills. The industry needs to be creative and recruit in non-traditional ways to start bridging the skills gap. In his keynote, Gene Fay talked about his passion for both cybersecurity and helping people find jobs, and advised graduates to never stop learning or networking and to be persistent in pursuing their first jobs. After the ceremony, Gene was able to meet one-on-one with each of the students; he had previously connected with many on LinkedIn and even physically delivered their resumes to the connections he has with other cybersecurity companies. Due to the connections they have established on this day, many will be starting careers in cybersecurity within the year. The success of this program inspired MRC to launch similar programs to provide opportunities and resources for people with disabilities nationwide.
However, opportunities aside, I believe that the most significant impact of this program is hope. We live in a society heavily influenced by systemic prejudices, especially within the workplace. Due to race, gender, age, or disability, many face the challenge of overcoming predisposed ideas when trying to get hired. There has been an increase in efforts to eradicate these prejudices in recent years, with MRC being an inspiring example of such initiatives, but we have a long way to go. This program has done many things, but it has not provided these students with the tenacity, talent and drive with which each has shown themselves. Each of them wanted to learn and each was ready to test those who did not see their potential differently. All they needed was someone who believed in them and their abilities, and that’s what MRC did.
I was personally moved and inspired by this event. As a 21-year-old woman approaches my senior year of college, real-world concerns, such as getting into work and finding my place in society, become more prevalent every day. After the short time I was able to spend with these 14 people on their special day, I felt inspired, finding solace in their stories of triumph and courage despite the unfavorable odds. The generosity, kindness and support shown by those at MRC, Roxbury Community College and Gene Fay make the world a little less scary place to walk into, knowing that there are people out there cheering for the success of others, not trying to bring them down. I learned the importance of being persistent, working hard and standing up for myself and my success, because nothing comes easily. However, I have also learned the importance of practicing gratitude, because there are many things that I, unlike others, don’t have to work so hard for because of the privilege I was born with. These people have accomplished something that will pave the way for all who aspire to follow in their footsteps, and as they continue to realize what some believed they would never do, I hope their stories inspire those they meet in the same way they have me. inspired.
Post Gene Fay gives keynote graduation of 2022 network technology program first appeared on ThreatX.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from The Web Application and API Protection Blog written by Tess Sanchioni. Read the original post at: https://www.threatx.com/blog/gene-fay-gives-keynote-at-2022-networking-technology-program-graduation/