Google Commits $20 Million for Cybersecurity Clinics At U.S. Colleges

Google's cybersecurity clinics will bolster student training and provide community access to cybersecurity services.
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Updated on June 29, 2023
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  • Google is investing $20 million in cybersecurity clinics at higher education institutions.
  • The cybersecurity clinics will function similarly to medical clinics in serving the dual function of training students and bolstering communities.
  • Applications for interested institutions open in October.

There is a nationwide drought of cybersecurity workers to combat a growing number of attacks — but Google hopes to train thousands of students to help fill that gap.

The tech giant announced June 22 that it would commit $20 million to set up and expand cybersecurity clinics at 20 higher education institutions across the country. The announcement comes after Google added cybersecurity to its host of tech-focused career certificates last month.

Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the employment of information security analysts will grow by 35% between 2021 and 2031, a much faster pace than the average projected job growth for all occupations. The median pay for an information security analyst in May 2021 was $102,600 per year.

Those clinics will serve to both train students and protect their communities, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and its parent company Alphabet, wrote in a blog post.

"These clinics provide free security services in the same way law or medical schools offer free clinics in their communities," Pichai wrote. "They give students the opportunity to learn and improve their skills, while helping to protect critical infrastructure such as hospitals, schools and energy grids. At many of the clinics, Google employee volunteers will serve as mentors, providing expertise from the field."

Google's cybersecurity funding will also include scholarships to let students earn the new cybersecurity certification for free.

Google will start accepting applications from colleges in October. Colleges that are selected for the funding will receive up to $1 million each to train students via cybersecurity clinics and Google's certificates. The effort is a collaboration with the Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics, which already hosts clinics nationwide.

Pichai noted that the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and its rapid growth are leading to changes and innovations in the cybersecurity field.

"We see AI as one of the most critical technologies that will impact national security over the next decade," Pichai wrote. "We're committed to working with all our partners on this important issue, and excited to help empower the next generation of cybersecurity professionals."

Google's $20 million commitment to cybersecurity clinics is only the latest in a long-term series of hefty investments by tech giants in a bid to train more cybersecurity workers.

Google in recent years has offered its career certificates to community colleges for free, BestColleges previously reported, and Microsoft in 2021 announced plans to recruit 250,000 people into the cybersecurity field by 2025.

Those investments extend beyond just cybersecurity, as tech companies increasingly invest in and partner with higher education institutions to bolster their research and train future workers. Earlier this year, Google and IBM announced they would invest $50 million and $100 million respectively into the University of Chicago, which aims to create a quantum supercomputer.