New philanthropic and educational grants aim to advance inclusive pathways into tech and cyber industries
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Okta, Inc. (NASDAQ:OKTA), the leading independent identity partner, today announced the launch of a new initiative focused on finding and developing the best cybersecurity talent and providing equitable access to thriving careers in technology. Okta is committed to investing in two key areas, the first being $1.6 million in philanthropic grants out of the Okta for Good Fund, a donor-advised fund held at Tides Foundation, for organizations around the globe providing tech career opportunities for women, people of color, veterans and other jobseekers from underrepresented communities. The second is made up of 5,000 educational grants to unemployed professionals looking to make a career transition to cybersecurity by growing their Okta skills. The program focuses on veterans, military spouses, and tech workers impacted by recent lay-offs.
Despite the continued increase in cyber threat activity, the gap in cybersecurity talent continues to grow. The 2022 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study identified a 3.4 million worldwide cybersecurity worker gap, with additional research indicating the broader tech talent gap at 40 million. The current economic climate makes it even more difficult for those looking to enter or make a career transition into tech or cyber. These career opportunities are also disproportionately out of reach for jobseekers from underrepresented communities. Okta’s philanthropic and educational grants further extend the company’s reach into communities around the world and help ensure the support of underrepresented communities’ access to the critical areas of cybersecurity and technical training. Okta’s commitment in this area also aligns to the White House’s National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy (NCWES), a comprehensive initiative aimed at addressing both immediate and long-term cyber workforce needs, which the White House declares a national security imperative.
“The world urgently needs many more skilled cybersecurity professionals. And we have jobseekers who would value those careers, but need to take action to develop the required skills,” said Eric Kelleher, Okta’s Chief Customer Officer. “At Okta, we are pleased to be in the unique position to make this connection. Okta’s Cybersecurity Workforce Development Initiative contributes to the future workforce and provides opportunities to a new, diverse, and highly-capable pool of talent.”
Okta for Good’s $1.6 million philanthropic grant is part of the company’s growing portfolio of grantee partnerships with organizations focused on inclusive pathways into technology. The funds will be distributed to organizations including Ada Developer Academy, CodePath, ColorStack, Develop for Good, The Hidden Genius Project, NPower, Per Scholas, Techbridge Girls and Genesys Works, WiCys (Women in Cybersecurity), and Year Up.
“Year Up’s longstanding partnership with Okta has enabled young people without four-year college degrees to launch meaningful careers in technology since 2017. Their continued support has helped us in our mission to close the Opportunity Divide for untapped talent, including through funding for our proven program, hands-on internship experience for Year Up students, and networking opportunities for our young adults through their annual Tech Pathways Week,” said Gerald Chertavian, Year Up Founder and CEO. “With the skills-first hiring movement on the rise, now is the time for employers to collaborate with workforce development programs to ensure they can recruit the talent they need to drive growth and innovation. Okta’s initiative and focus on IT and cyber security will increase the pool of skilled, diverse, career-ready talent across the country, and help advance more equitable access to economic opportunity.”
Okta’s 5,000 educational grants go to professionals in career transition and provide access to Okta’s learning catalog, practice exams, and the Okta certification exam, and target individuals recently displaced from a technology career, including veterans and their spouses. Individuals seeking careers in tech or cybersecurity can acquire the skills and confidence they need to secure a job by earning technical certifications. According to Pearson VUE’s 2023 Value of IT Certification Report, 92% of certified people reported confidence in their abilities to do their job and 82% of them produce higher quality work. In addition, Okta Certifications are some of the highest paying IT certifications in the industry. IT certifications can help job seekers stand out in a competitive marketplace and provide specialized expertise to support Okta’s growing network of customers and partners, while helping to close the cybersecurity talent gap. Grant recipients must reside in the US and have on-the-job experience working in information technology or software development.
Cybersecurity is increasingly critical for organizations in every industry and we’re committed to doing our part to ensure every organization can secure the talent they need to protect their customer and employee data. To learn more about Okta for Good and its work to help close the tech and cybersecurity skills gap, visit our website here.
Okta is the World’s Identity Company. As the leading independent Identity partner, we free everyone to safely use any technology—anywhere, on any device or app. The most trusted brands trust Okta to enable secure access, authentication, and automation. With flexibility and neutrality at the core of our Okta Workforce Identity and Customer Identity Clouds, business leaders and developers can focus on innovation and accelerate digital transformation, thanks to customizable solutions and more than 7,000 pre-built integrations. We’re building a world where Identity belongs to you. Learn more at okta.com.
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