Left to right: Keon Williams, Urban Philanthropies, Rickelle Williams, Miami Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT), Philip Bacon of Urban Philanthropies and Lance Lucas, Digit All City after a recent board meeting.


Staff Report

MIAMI – In an industry where only eight percent employed are African American, cyber security remains one of the most pivotal concerns regarding national security.

Continual development of cyber security is a national discussion and organizations have already begun initiatives and programs to ensure that the digital divide is bridged and opportunities for the required certification are within reach to all of those who qualify.

Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT) is one of those entities and it has partnered with Digit All City (DAC), a national cyber security educational training program, to offer a cyber security certification program specifically for Miami’s inner-city youth and veterans.

DAC will run the program at Florida Memorial University (FMU), which now offers a bachelor of science degree in Cyber Security, at 15800 NW 42 Avenue in Miami Gardens. Training begins Tuesday, May 16.

Under the Department of Defense’s Mentor Protégé Program (MPP), Northrop Grumman and DAC released a Cyber Warrior Diversity Program aimed at developing a cadre of “cyber warriors” who are trained and certified to protect and secure cyber systems.

As a result, the program aims to increase cyber security employment opportunities for blacks in underserved communities throughout the United States.

DAC is a Baltimore-based company offering African American students the opportunity to earn a CompTIA A+ certification – a requirement for those interested in working in the field of cyber security.

MDEAT is a Miami-Dade County agency, dedicated to increasing awareness regarding socioeconomic issues and developing opportunities that help create economic parity between black communities and the community-at-large in Miami, Florida.

It wants to mirror the same successes with DAC’s cyber security program in the local market, in collaboration with Urban Philanthropies, a local economic development organization.

“I signed up for the A+ certification class … because I knew how to work on computers but I did not have the understanding of the industry to pass the test to be certified,” said former A+ certification student Terrance Sweeting, Founder and President of K&M Computer Solutions.

“After three months, I got my A+ certification and I started K&M Computer Solutions to support myself and my family.”

MDEAT, in partnership with DAC and Urban Philanthropies, will host a launch event at FMU this afternoon, May 4 from 3-5 p.m. The program is offered at no cost to the 22 selected students, ages 18-24, as well as veterans.

After successful program completion, DAC will place select students into jobs within the cyber security sector.

“MDEAT is focused on creating an educational ‘pipeline’ for students through this cyber security program,” MDEAT Chairman Cornell Crews explained. “Thus, the local objective is to not only offer students a certification but also to assist in solidifying immediate employment that will help improve the overall socioeconomic condition of black youth throughout Miami-Dade County.”