The McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin announced its Leadership in Health Care Privacy and Security Risk Management certificate program on Tuesday. The first professional program of its kind in the US aims to produce cybersecurity leaders who can manage risk in America’s healthcare systems.

There us a major shortage of skilled professionals in the cybersecurity industry, and it has been a long time coming: In 2017, Frost & Sullivan’s Global Information Security Workforce Study predicted that the cybersecurity industry will have 1.8 million jobs open by 2022. UT’s program aims to address this major workforce shortage.

SEE: How to build a successful career in cybersecurity (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Endorsed by healthcare cybersecurity firms CynergisTek and Clearwater Compliance, as well as the Texas Hospital Association, the eight-week program graduated its first class of 16 students in August 2019, according to a press release from McCombs.

The program is geared toward college graduates with degrees in relevant fields, veterans, members of the National Guard and Reserves, and graduates of UT Austin’s Health Informatics and Health Information Technology (HIHIT) program. Recent graduates of the healthcare cybersecurity leadership program ranged in age from early 20s to late 50s, and were provided options to take the program in-person, remotely, or both.

“Attracting and retaining cybersecurity talent is a major challenge in all industry sectors,” said Greg Garcia, executive director of cybersecurity for the Health Care and Public Sector Coordinating Council, and former assistant secretary for cybersecurity at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in the press release. “This program is the kind of initiative that will develop a pipeline of cybersecurity leaders who will leverage their knowledge and capabilities to strengthen the cybersecurity and resilience of our nation’s health care systems.”

McCombs intends to offer the program again in spring 2020.

Reskilling or upskilling talent is one of the best ways employees can help close the tech talent gap. The easiest way employees can improve, or widen, their skill set is through training programs like the one offered at UT Austin.

For more, check out How to reverse the cybersecurity staffing shortage: 5 tips on TechRepublic.

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