Students walk through the campus of Yale University on Sept. 27, 2018, in New Haven, Conn. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

SAP on Monday announced that it will work closely with the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University to develop cybersecurity talent and promote diversity in the field. 

There’s a pressing need to develop cybersecurity talent and attract young people into the industry, especially in the wake of high-profile cyberattacks such as SolarWinds, Colonial Pipeline, and Kasyea.

Right now, there are 597,767 open positions in cybersecurity nationwide, according to Cyber Seek, a job database jointly operated by the U.S. Commerce Department and CompTIA.

As part of the new relationship between SAP and Yale, the large tech company will sponsor the Yale Cyber Leadership Forum, a collaboration between the Yale Law School’s Center for Global Legal Challenges, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and Yale’s Department of Computer Science.

SAP’s sponsorship will include scholarships, funding for diverse groups of students, educational materials, professional mentorship and access to jobs and internships for students aiming to pursue careers in cybersecurity. SAP also plans to live-stream the Yale Cyber Leadership Forum sessions to the public, for the first time making it possible to view and participate in its educational events and discussions. 

Elena Kvochko, SAP’s chief trust officer, said the company’s collaboration with the Yale Cyberleadership Forum aims to mitigate the talent gap from widening, as well as strengthen the industry by encouraging more diverse perspectives, backgrounds and skillsets.

“By supporting the forum via broadcasting sessions, we’re hoping to reduce barriers to participation, reach a broader array of audiences, and open Yale's incredible educational materials to underserved populations,” Kvochko said. “I'm optimistic that we will foster student engagement and bring diversity, creativity, and opportunity across the forum and to the cybersecurity sector.”

Doug Britton, CEO at Haystack Solutions, said it’s exciting to see leaders like SAP and Yale lean so hard into the cyber talent opportunity. Britton said partners from the academic world and industry will be essential for reaching the millions of people who need to come into industry. 

“Still, more voices are needed to keep pressure on the imperative of getting more talent into the cyber workforce, immediately,” Britton said. “Creating broad access to the industry could help break cycles of intergenerational poverty, while helping secure intellectual property and global commerce."