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Impact Stories

Fostering Workforce Diversity in the Cyber Security Field

Symantec Corporation—Cyber Career Connection

Cyber security is one of today’s most in-demand fields—growing three times faster than other IT jobs. Yet, there is a significant shortage of qualified candidates prepared to fill these roles. It is no secret that barriers to income equality and professional opportunities exist in the technology industry. In 2014, Symantec Corporation, headquartered in Mountain View, CA, sought to foster diversity in the cyber security field and address the talent gap through a grantmaking initiative called the Cyber Career Connection—Symantec C3 for short. The initiative aimed to provide cyber security career pathways for underrepresented and under-resourced young adults and veterans to fill in-demand cyber security jobs and enjoy long-term, meaningful careers.

Symantec C3 became the signature program in Symantec’s philanthropic portfolio, says Jaime Barclay, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Symantec. “In 2016 we enlisted TCC Group’s help in strengthening the strategic impact of our philanthropy and Symantec C3 in particular.”

Symantec C3 consists of two separate programs. One is aimed at getting students excited about future careers in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math; the other partners with leading educational nonprofits to offer high quality cyber security training and internships and, ultimately, assistance in finding jobs that will lift participants out of poverty. “The program was aligned with key issues for the company relating to talent, diversity, and inclusion,” says Tom Knowlton, Director of TCC Group’s Corporate Practice. “But the goals were too broad and more about reaching the largest possible number of children than on achieving a clearly defined outcome.”

TCC Group worked closely with the company’s Corporate Responsibility team to redefine Symantec C3’s impact goals and map a new outcomes framework for its community investment and grantmaking activities. With those core elements in place, Symantec turned its attention to developing its capacity to implement an effective evaluation plan.

TCC Group Senior Consultant Lisa Frantzen led the Symantec C3 team through the creation of a logic model—a sequential depiction of desired short- and long-term outcomes, the steps to achieve them, and a set of metrics to assess progress towards the programs’ goals. From the logic model, the team built an evaluation plan to regularly assess progress towards their newly defined goals. “Since we were working with limited resources, it was essential to allocate them as efficiently and effectively as possible,” says Barclay. “The logic model was enormously valuable in enabling us to quantify exactly what we were putting into the program at every step of the way—staff and volunteer time, philanthropic dollars, cyber security expertise, and in-kind donations, for example, as well as the transformations we wanted the students to experience and, finally, the desired end result.”

Developing an effective assessment tool for an ambitious community investment program like Symantec C3 isn’t an abstract exercise, Barclay is quick to note:

TCC Group met with a wide range of stakeholders at Symantec and our partner companies, gathering data, hearing first-hand about their experiences, and drawing them out on where the program was working and where it could be improved.

“Thanks in part to TCC Group,” Barclay says, “the Cyber Career Connection is moving forward with clearer goals and program efficiencies that better support Symantec’s efforts to build an inclusive cyber security talent pipeline.”

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