TULSA, OK -- Today Tulsa Community College (TCC) and Tulsa Innovation Labs (TIL), in partnership with edX, the global online learning platform from 2U, Inc. (Nasdaq: TWOU), and Skillstorm, launch the Cyber Skills Center. The new program, based in Tulsa, will develop a diverse talent pipeline for the in-demand and rapidly expanding career fields of cybersecurity and data analytics at no-cost to Tulsa-area residents.
Developed with edX’s Access Partnership initiative, Cyber Skills Center model is designed to streamline the skill development and career transition process for underserved communities. The program offers a 24-week online accelerated training boot camp curriculum offered by the Tulsa Community College, in partnership with edX, along with a paid apprenticeship upon graduation, and a suite of wrap-around services to make education and career transitions more accessible. These services, which are offered through the support of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, include childcare, transportation stipends, coaching and job readiness support.
The initial program is estimated to support more than 200 Tulsans over the next three years.
“Tulsa Community College has extensive experience and history of evolving with constant workforce changes and developing individuals with the needed skills for in-demand careers,” said Dr. Leigh Goodson, TCC president & CEO. “Boot camp graduates will not only be able to pursue new career opportunities after program completion, but can also apply credits earned from the boot camp to education opportunities to support additional reskilling and upskilling.”
The Cyber Skills Center will also lead to additional opportunities through college credit towards a 2-year associate degree through TCC, or bachelor’s degree at the University of Tulsa School of Cyber Studies or Oklahoma State University Spears School of Business.
Demand for careers in these fields are at an all-time high, for example, cybersecurity is expected to see a demand of nearly 3.5 million jobs by 2025.
With an average entry-level salary in this field in excess of $63,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and hundreds of available jobs in the greater Tulsa metropolitan area, there is an extraordinary opportunity to leverage the demand for cybersecurity talent to create a new pathway to the middle class.
“Our Access Partnerships help provide the infrastructure to bring colleges and universities, local workforce agencies and nonprofits, funding partners, and employers to the table to solve regional skills gaps and empower more working adults to succeed in the digital economy,” said Anant Agarwal, edX Founder and Chief Open Education Officer at 2U. “We are honored to welcome TCC as our first community college partner and look forward to working together with them and TIL to help reskill and upskill Tulsa area learners as the city continues to grow its tech community.”
Upon completion of the 24-week program, graduates will be eligible to continue learning enterprise-level skills in cybersecurity and data analytics through SkillStorm’s 10-week immersive training program, which also provides potential opportunities to be connected with SkillStorm’s diverse group of commercial and federal clients.
“Through our work with Fortune 500 companies across the country, we’ve seen rapidly accelerating demand for workers with cybersecurity and data analytics skills in an increasingly competitive labor market,” said Joe Mitchell, Chief Operating Officer at SkillStorm. “We look forward to the opportunity to help upskill individuals in the Tulsa community — and expand access to career pathways both in the region and with major employers nationwide.”
This effort builds on TIL’s strategy to create one of the more inclusive tech ecosystems in the country. By building the foundation for tech sectors where Tulsa has a competitive advantage: energy tech, advanced aerial mobility, virtual health, and cyber and analytics, and building accessible pipelines to each, Tulsa aims to serve as a new model for how tech growth can truly serve residents from diverse backgrounds and prepare the economy for the future.
"TIL is committed to making big investments where opportunities for traditionally underserved Tulsans overlap with industries in which Tulsa has a right to win,” said Nicholas Lalla, Managing Director of Tulsa Innovation Labs. “This initiative is a home run on both counts, and will be a game-changer in how the city leverages its unique competitive advantages to give Tulsans from every background a chance to access a high-paying career in cyber and data analytics."
To ensure the program meets the educational needs of diverse student populations in Tulsa, the Cyber Skills Center is working with nearly 30 nonprofits and community partners to provide feedback on program design and recruit students for the program. One such organization is Black Tech Street, a group advancing the digital transformation of historic Black Wall Street.
“No one should be intimidated by words like cyber and analytics,” said Tyrance Billingsley, the executive director of Black Tech Street. “People who excel in this field will be those who are creative, great at problem solving, and who have an eye for recognizing patterns. Cyber Security may sound scary and "elite" but it's not, and we want to demystify this world by making that clear. That's why this partnership was a no brainer. The Cyber Skills Center will be an incredible and accessible tool for helping Black Tulsans break into the tech world and will be crucial for our mission to rebirth Black Wall Street through technology”
The Cyber Skills Center will launch the first class in Fall 2022. To get started, apply at tulsacc.edu/cybercenter.
About Tulsa Community College
Tulsa Community College, winner of two national Awards of Excellence from the American Association of Community Colleges in 2021, is a vital link to workforce development for northeast Oklahoma. Serving more Oklahomans than any other higher education institution in the state, TCC has four main campuses with roughly 21,000 students in credit courses each year. For five decades, TCC has provided access to an affordable college education. As one of 30 community colleges selected for the inaugural Pathways Project, a national initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, TCC is one of the most comprehensive community colleges in the United States. For more information on TCC, visit www.tulsacc.edu.
About Tulsa Innovation Labs
Recognizing that the jobs of the future are rooted in a thriving innovation economy, the George Kaiser Family Foundation pioneered Tulsa Innovation Labs to develop a city-wide strategy that positions Tulsa as a tech hub and leader in the future of work. Through a diverse coalition of public and private partners, TIL is creating economic development programs that seek to make Tulsa the nation’s most inclusive tech community. Learn more at tulsainnovationlabs.com.
edX is the education movement for restless learners and a leading global online learning platform from 2U, Inc. (Nasdaq: TWOU). Together with the majority of the world’s top-ranked universities and industry-leading companies, we bring our community of over 44 million learners world-class education to support them at every stage of their lives and careers, from free courses to full degrees. And we're not stopping there — we're relentlessly pursuing our vision of a world where every learner can access education to unlock their potential, without the barriers of cost or location. Learn more at edX.org.
Founded in 2002, SkillStorm was built on the mission of accelerating careers in high-demand technologies. We create Stormers, the world’s most elite developers. We hire, train, and deploy Stormers from all backgrounds and experience levels in today’s in-demand technologies, including AWS, Appian, Salesforce, PEGA, and ServiceNow. We are committed to hiring and training college graduates and veterans for high-growth technology careers with our Fortune 100 clients. Through these dedicated efforts, we provide our clients with an exclusive pipeline of high-quality, U.S.-based tech talent that is custom trained with the skills required to support our clients’ critical technology initiatives. As a flexible technology workforce partner, we provide fully formed tech teams at every level of experience, skill sets, and clearance. Stormers are deployed either at our clients’ sites or at our U.S.-based delivery centers.