Sam Kassoumeh (l), SecurityScorecard COO, said that the "New York Works" jobs plan unveiled by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio (r) could convince tech and cyber companies to put down roots in the city.
Sam Kassoumeh (l), SecurityScorecard COO, said that the "New York Works" jobs plan unveiled by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio (r) could convince tech and cyber companies to put down roots in the city.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday unveiled a ten-year plan to introduce 100,000 jobs with annual salaries of $50,000 or greater by strategically investing in multiple industries, with a strong emphasis on cybersecurity.

"New York City can be the cybersecurity capital of the world," stated de Blasio in a press conference touting the plan, which according to an official City Hall press release is designed to directly create 3,500 cyber jobs over the next decade and indirectly spawn an additional 6,500.

The "New York Works" initiative entails a $30 million investment in cybersecurity training, academic research and development labs, and what is being described as the first business accelerator that specializes exclusively in upstart cybersecurity firms that are based in the city.

The de Blasio administration believes that New York can compete with cyber hubs such as Silicon Valley, Boston and Washington, by capitalizing on its inherent advantages, including access to major finance, insurance and media companies, all of which need cybersecurity support. Additionally, New York intends to leverage its own city-owned property for commercial and industrial use, while also investing in capital in business infrastructure, offering financial support and tax incentives, implementing sector-specific training programs, and facilitating commercial growth via zoning actions.

James Patchett, president and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, said that key elements of the plan's cyber component include the creation of a cybersecurity campus that will "enhance the number and the size of the programs that are specifically dedicated to cybersecurity."

Moreover, the city will further invest in its CUNY (City University of New York) higher education program, with the goal of doubling the number of its computer science and cyber graduates. Currently, the largest higher-education cybersecurity program in New York, hosted at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, includes only 500 enrollees, said Patchett. By comparison, the University of Maryland's cybersecurity program has around 8,000 enrolled students, he added.

New York will also continue to develop industry partnerships with tech companies, while growing its Tech Talent Pipeline job development program and launching its upcoming ApprenticeNYC on-the-job professional training initiative, Patchett continued.

According to the "New York Works" plan submitted to the media, the city's near-term goals for adding jobs in the tech sector, including cybersecurity, include releasing the first cybersecurity RFP, conferring with cyber industry leaders to gauge current needs, and finishing the construction of business and incubator space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

"We have to maximize the growth of the cybersecurity sector right now, right here, and not let it slip away, because those jobs are going to be developed somewhere," said de Blasio, who explained that the jobs initiative is part of a larger strategy to make the city a more affordable place to live. "We act now, we believe [these jobs] will be developed here and it will become a very big sector. He who hesitates is lost, they say. We're not hesitating."

The press conference took place in the Manhattan headquarters of security ratings and risk monitoring company SecurityScorecard, which de Blasio cited as a model for other aspiring early-stage tech and cyber firms.

"With security threats spreading and evolving quite rapidly, having talent that understands the meaning of a New York minute actually helps to keep companies more secure, believe it or not," said Sam Kassoumeh, co-founder and COO of SecurityScorecard, at the press conference. "The challenge of hiring, of course, is that the demand currently outweighs the supply. We believe that programs like the mayor's will help solve this problem by training more native New Yorkers and supporting early-stage companies with R&D... In turn, this will incentivize large companies to invest more in New York and not just open satellite offices, but open general offices and put down their roots just like we did at SecurityScorecard.