The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has partnered with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID/RIT) to train deaf and hard of hearing individuals in a cybersecurity bootcamp, reported Democrat and Chronicle.
Known as the only cybersecurity bootcamp for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, NITD/RIT’s offering will be led by one of the organization Mark Jeremy, who lectures at the NITD/RIT’s Information and Computing Studies Department using American Sign Language.
As a deaf individual, Jeremy told Democrat & Chronicle that he is excited about this opportunity. He said, “As a faculty member who uses sign language and can communicate with students directly, it’s a unique situation and very advantageous for the participants.”
This opportunity comes at a time when the need for cybersecurity talents is at an all-time high, especially with numerous attacks that have led to national issues such as the Colonial Pipeline hack.
The diversity of attacks also calls for different perspectives, which Jeremy says can be satisfied by putting deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals on board.
Jeremy remarked, “[Employers] also need individuals with different perspectives. Deaf and hard of hearing people have a perspective and an insight into things that might provide a different approach.”
“if a company hires one of our bootcamp graduates, they will get a person who is highly qualified in cybersecurity and has an insight of how they can improve their process of hiring diverse members sin their company,” he added.
Aside from using technology to contribute to the field of cybersecurity and to secure employment, the community has also been benefitting from the technology “unearthed” during the pandemic. Jeremy noted that contactless pick-ups and online ordering have also helped the community with their day-to-day lives.
As these hearing-challenged individuals pose potentials in aiding employers in technology and cybersecurity, they also leverage technology to eliminate barriers in employment. According to Jeremy, digital tools enable the community to participate in the workplace and contribute to cyberspace.
RIT launched the Cybersecurity Bootcamp last year, but this is the first time that it worked with NITD/RIT to offer the same opportunity to deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.
According to Justin Pelletier, RIT Global Cybersecurity Institute’s director of Cyber Range and Training Center, the bootcamp was developed in order to make cybersecurity “more accessible to underrepresented communities.”
The bootcamp has opened opportunities in cybersecurity for graduates who originally came from different fields of expertise including those from the real estate and automotive industries.