Target’s Latest Hometown Collaboration Helps Train the Next Generation of Cyber Security Leaders

October 7, 2019 - Article reads in
Students sitting at tables look to the left as they watch a presentation

With the technology landscape growing bigger and more complex every day, Target’s cyber security team works round the clock to keep our company and guest data secure—and share our expertise to help the rest of the industry do the same. As a top employer, we’re looking to the future, putting resources in place to set the next generation of cyber security experts up for success and help build a high-tech workforce. In fact, we’re about to embark on an important project with another beloved hometown team.

Today, we’re celebrating the kickoff of a three-year collaboration with the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering, propelled by a $250,000 Target donation. Its goal is to build course curriculum and offer hands-on information security experiences, student scholarships, fellowships and grants, and opportunities for students to network with our cyber security experts. Among the highlights? A year-long capstone course that will give students hands-on tech experience prior to graduation. The instructor and students will work directly with Target leaders to solve a real-world industry problem and develop innovative possible solutions.

Sound exciting? It is—and the work will help thousands of students prepare to step into a variety of open roles in the coming years.

“Over the next 10 years, it’s predicted that half of all cyber security positions in the U.S. will be vacant,” says Rich Agostino, chief information security officer at Target. “As one of the largest employers in the Twin Cities, we know we have a responsibility to help build the cyber security talent pipeline. Our team has been working closely with the University of Minnesota on a unique collaboration that not only helps educate the next generation of cyber security leaders, but also provides training and leadership opportunities to Target’s team.”

Our donation directly supports students too—including funding to award seven undergraduate student scholarships at $5,000 each that started with the Fall 2019 semester. It will also send computer science-related student groups to conferences, workshops, hackathons and other events where they can continue building expertise.

“I’m honored to be one of the first Target scholarship recipients,” says Melanie Humphrey, a University of Minnesota junior majoring in computer science, who will be interning at Target next summer. “The Target scholarship process confirmed my decision to pursue a career in cyber security. I was excited to learn that I could have an impact on everything from protecting our private data to national security.”

“We’re grateful to Target for supporting the University in our efforts to build the pipeline of high-tech workers in this state and around the world,” says Mostafa Kaveh, dean of the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering. “When industry and academia work together to solve problems, great things can happen. We look forward to collaborating with Target for many years.”

Check out photos from our recent collaboration kickoff event:

Think you might be a great match for Target’s technology and data sciences teams? Explore open roles, and visit Target’s Pulse Blog to meet more of our team members.

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