NEW YORK – The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) will extend critical cybersecurity training to its 15,000+ certified minority business enterprises (MBEs) across 23 regions.
CyberReadyMBETM is a five-week program developed by Industry Workforce Solutions (IWS) to provide pathways for companies to increase their cyber capabilities and resiliency, allowing them to become integrated into corporate and public-sector supply chains.
The move is part of a nationwide effort to strengthen the nation’s supply chain and give businesses the infrastructure they need to compete effectively in the global marketplace.
“We are proud to offer this innovative program to our certified-MBEs, to not only meet basic cybersecurity standards to protect themselves and their partners, but more so to give them a competitive edge when they bid on contracts,” said Ying McGuire, CEO and president of NMSDC. “Being certified has first mover advantages, and we hope programs like this will show other MBEs the value of NMSDC certification.”
The launch comes on the heels of a successful pilot program implemented with the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council last summer. Now, the partners are launching the program on a national scale. The first session, which starts Sept. 13, will register certified MBEs through Sept. 12. Four subsequent sessions will be offered over the next year to ensure all the MBEs can achieve the designation.
The program kicks off with a cyber summit in which participants will hear from industry experts about their risks, followed by four instructor-led sessions, then onto a gap assessment with the goal of helping MBEs stabilize their systems, thereby increasing their opportunities with NMSDC corporate partners and federal agencies.
When complete, the MBEs will hold a CyberReadyMBETM designation, recognized by the entire NMSDC corporate member network. The program concludes with a virtual recruitment fair attended by corporate sponsors and supporters to help MBEs cultivate relationships with corporate and governmental entities.
The U.S. Department of Defense and corporations recognize that small businesses have a crucial role in the nation’s efforts against cybersecurity attacks. Using their standards as a model, the program is aligned with the NIST NICE Cyber Framework and the Department of Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), which are required for all entities doing business with the DoD.
“We consulted with academic researchers, cybersecurity experts, corporations, and government agencies to build a program that aligns with national standards of cybersecurity,” said Doreen Gonzalez- Gaboyan, president of Industry Workforce Solutions. “The result is a pathway for MBEs to increase their cybersecurity capabilities and resiliency. In addition to giving them the tools to be compliant with the standards outlined by the U.S. Department of Defense, the program will also help MBEs address their unique risks and gaps and provide guidance on addressing them.”
The program is sponsored, in part, by Bank of America, GE, and Truist. It is backed by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, which counseled IWS and NMSDC on the tools MBEs need to effectively and safely compete for business in the corporate and government realms.
Brent Voigtschild, corporate operations department director at Naval Surface Warfare Center shared that NAVSEA is in constant need of qualified and prepared companies who can support the critical needs of the U.S. Navy.
“This program gives MBEs access to federal opportunities that they previously couldn’t access because of their cyber immaturity,” Voigtschild said. “This program not only helps the MBE join the global supply chain ecosystem but it strengthens the entire country’s ability to compete globally.”
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About Industry Workforce Solutions
Industry Workforce Solutions, Inc. brings together the brightest minds in business, government, and academia to address the cyber and workforce maturity issues that inhibit the nation’s supply chain resiliency. The collective expertise of these players is key to solving the nation’s supply chain gaps and related cybersecurity issues. IWS is dedicated to ensuring small- and minority-owned businesses play a critical role in protecting the nation’s data and security. For more information, please visit industryworkforcesolutions.com.
Founded in 1972, NMSDC is the longest-operating business growth engine for the broadest group of systematically excluded communities of color (Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Hispanic, and Native American), and our impact goes far beyond the supply chain. It’s about upward mobility for the emerging majority of Americans, an equal shot at participating in the American experiment of free- market capitalism and entrepreneurship. Our work is about correcting the unequal access to wealth- building opportunities. For more information, please visit nmsdc.org.