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HBCU Cybersecurity Accelerator

in partnership with  


Interested in an exciting career in cybersecurity?

Want to gain a cutting-edge in the industry?
Apply to join the HBCU Cybersecurity Accelerator today and help shape the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape of tomorrow. As cybersecurity accelerator participants, our students gain a competitive advantage in the cybersecurity job market and are well-prepared to excel in this rapidly evolving industry.
Accelerator students have access to a unique blend of resources and guidance for successful career placement, equipping them with globally appealing job readiness skills that are highly sought-after in the cybersecurity sector.
 Accelerated and industry-focused learning opportunities help ensure participating students transition seamlessly from the classroom to successful careers in cybersecurity.

What is an accelerator?

The cybersecurity accelerator creates an unmatched, immersive experience crafted specifically for HBCU students. Over a year-long, students gain direct access to top-tier industry experts and cutting-edge tools, ensuring their advancement in the rapidly evolving cybersecurity industry

Program Overview

This initiative is dedicated to helping upskill the next generation of leaders and cultivating a  talent pipeline, of HBCU students ready to enter the cybersecurity workforce.

Duration: One-year engagement

Focus: Experiential activities, challenge-based learning, and cybersecurity skill development.

Program Activity

Expertly curated for career development and cybersecurity upskilling by industry and academic leaders.

Submission Instructions

Thank you for your interest in joining the HBCU Cybersecurity Accelerator. Please ensure your application is complete and submitted by the deadline. We look forward to reviewing your submission and potentially welcoming you to this transformative program.

Deadline for Application Submission: May 15, 2024

Student Deliverable: Portfolio

 Please submit your completed application via the application portal link.

Application Opens | 04/24/24

Application Closes | 05/15/24

Announce Student Selected - Send Out Selection Letters | 

Announcement date: 05/20/24

Virtual Orientation | Orientation date: 05/28/24

Virtual Kickoff | August 5, 2024

In-person Hack-A-Thon | October  2024

In-person Showcase w/Fellows | Showcase event: 06/01/25

1. Accelerate Learning

Goal: To integrate experiential learning opportunities to address the skills gap and increase workforce readiness through the development of critical knowledge, skills and abilities.

Outcome: Utilizing a blend of formal and informal learning approaches, the program aims to equip HBCU students with the specialized training required to meet the demands of the cybersecurity industry.

2. Enhance Entrepreneurial Thinking

Goal: To help further cultivate a forward-thinking mindset that embraces problem-solving, critical thinking and innovation to navigate challenges.

Outcome: Students will develop the ability to identify opportunities and craft solutions, considering risks to pioneer new possibilities in the cybersecurity domain.

3. Foster Social Capital and Career Support

Goal: To enrich students’ understanding of and exposure to the cybersecurity profession

Outcome: Students will gain access to industry and academic leaders, helping them to build a comprehensive professional network that supports their career development.

  • Application period: Opens 4/24/2024, with a deadline of 5/15/2024.
  • Program Orientation: 05/28/2024
  • Program Virtual Kickoff: 08/05/2024, lasting one year.
  • Skill Development in Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Hands-on Experience Solving Real World Challenges
  • Gain Industry Certifications
  • Industry Exposure and Career Opportunities
  • Academic and Industry Mentorship Opportunities
  • Must be an HBCU student in good academic standing pursuing a degree or minor in cybersecurity
  • Must have completed at least 90 credits (junior or senior) for the 2024- 2025 academic year
  • Able to make a commitment to participate in online and in-person activities, if accepted into the program.
  • Available to complete coursework for cybersecurity certification
  • Completion of online application inclusive of applicant video submission

Participants will craft individual learning paths, exploring synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences, including foundational resources and specialized training sessions. The program emphasizes practical application, with resources continuously updated to reflect the latest in cybersecurity advancements.

This program will guide students in designing a personalized learning plan aimed at securing a career in cybersecurity. Throughout this process, an accelerator mentor will provide support via structured and self-paced labs.

The curriculum is designed to build upon itself, starting with foundational cybersecurity and data privacy knowledge, advancing through technical and application-focused areas, and concluding with ethical considerations in AI. Learners will participate in the consortium's monthly student CyberChat, followed by a complementary learning experience where they can apply what they’ve learned in dedicated labs. A significant feature of the program is upon completion of the certification course, students will receive a voucher to complete an exam leading to certification in a specialized area of cybersecurity. William Mapp, PROPEL Cybersecurity Advisor (SME), will serve as the facilitator with other invited guest experts.

1. What is the PROPEL HBCU Cybersecurity Consortium and what do we do?

 The HBCU Cybersecurity Consortium (HCC) is a collaborative initiative designed to address the cybersecurity skills gap and develop a diverse pipeline of skilled cybersecurity professionals. Partnering with Southern Company, the Consortium offers comprehensive programs, workshops, and real-world projects. Its mission is to accelerate cybersecurity education and workforce readiness among HBCU students and faculty, fostering collaboration between academia, industry, and government.


2. What are the primary goals of the HCC?

The HCC aims to equip cybersecurity faculty and students with advanced training, accelerated learning, and workforce readiness opportunities. HCC fosters collaboration between academia, industry, and government, and develops a diverse pipeline of graduates qualified to address tomorrow's cybersecurity challenges.

3. What programs are offered by the HCC?

The HCC offers several key programs, including:

  • The HBCU Cybersecurity Accelerator for students.
  • The HBCU Cybersecurity Fellows Program (HCFP) for faculty.
  • The HBCU CyberChat Monthly sessions for both students and faculty.

4. How can students and faculty participate in these programs?

Participants can apply through specified application processes for each program.

5. What are the eligibility criteria for the Cybersecurity Accelerator Program?

Eligible students must be in good academic standing at an HBCU, have completed 90 credits(junior or senior) of computer science coursework, and be interested in cybersecurity. They must commit to participating in both online and in-person activities.

6. What does the Cybersecurity Fellows Program offer to faculty?

The program requires an application and offers over 60 hours of professional development, certification support, and opportunities to engage in innovative teaching and learning methodologies. It aims to elevate faculty expertise and facilitate collaboration with industry and government. However, all the programs for faculty isn't application-based. Faculty who are not in the Cybersecurity Fellows Program will still be able to actively participate in PROPEL Learn, Consortium meetings, CyberChats, and take advantage of other research opportunities. 


7. How do the programs enhance the knowledge and skill sets of students and faculty, and how does it benefit other stakeholders?

The Consortium's programs enhance student and faculty knowledge and skills by combining theoretical learning with practical experiences. In the Cybersecurity Accelerator Program, students benefit from challenge-based learning and mentoring, gaining both technical and social skills. Faculty development is promoted through the Fellows Program, which offers advanced training and certifications. Other HBCU stakeholders gain access to enriched curriculums and resources, improving their students' educational experience.

8. Is the Consortium exclusive to certain schools?

The Consortium will offer priority access to programs for the select HBCUs that participated in its development. However, it is open to all HBCUs, with schools that join over time and are officially represented gaining increasing access to programming and resources. This inclusivity ensures broad engagement across the HBCU community.

9. How are students educated with the industry-required skill sets?

The Cybersecurity Consortium’s accelerated learning opportunities educate students on industry-required skills through challenge-based learning and other expedited experiential learning opportunities. The consortium’s flagship accelerated learning program is the Cybersecurity Accelerator. The program also includes a significant mentoring component, allowing students to apply their knowledge practically, understand industry dynamics, and develop essential technical and social skills.

10. Do faculty members have access to certifications as part of the Fellows Program, and do they have to wait the entire year?

Faculty members receive funding for certifications upon acceptance into the Fellows Program. While the program is sequential and time-bound, faculty can choose when to pursue certifications based on the curriculum and their schedule. This flexibility is complemented by mentorship and coaching from cybersecurity professionals, enhancing faculty teaching capabilities. 

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“Our hands-on training and career readiness programs ensure that students are well-prepared for the demands of the cybersecurity industry.”