AIM program prepares students for cyber jobs

RayLynn Chraston, Staff writer

Mercyhurst University has teamed up with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in a unique program to prepare students with autism for high-paying cybersecurity jobs.

This partnership with PWC began through vocational exposure experiences in New York City and Washington D.C. Students in the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM) program were invited to meet with corporate leaders and to participate in vocational training while also gaining experience through this work.

The early partnership provided students with wonderful resources at PWC, which later evolved into this innovative program.

“We have been partnering with some great corporate partners that are doing great work in neurodiversity initiatives and wanted to team up with the best to provide an opportunity for our students,” said AIM director, Bradley McGarry.

Through PWC and AIM partnership, students will be participating in standard degree requirements, which include completing a minimum of 121 credits in 100-level or above, non-laboratory courses.

They will also be additional supports as well as gaining access to vocational training and opportunities through the cohort.

This program is mutually beneficial for all those who are involved. Mercyhurst and its students are given the opportunity to gain access to a direct pipeline of excellent vocational opportunities working with a top international corporation. If a student takes on an internship with PWC, the corporation has the opportunity to gain additional access to quality candidates that have specific training and attributes they are looking for within their corporation.

Based on the benefits stated above, this program is a win/win for all those who are involved. McGarry and his colleagues are looking forward to demonstrating that the model is replicable and can be utilized across multiple disciplines and companies.

McGarry holds an important role here at Mercyhurst in helping to build and sustain programming opportunities for students in the AIM program. McGarry often serves as the connection between people to help make these types of opportunities come to fruition.

“I believe that one thing that has helped AIM in gaining and national profile is these innovative programs and opportunities that we provide for our students and our program,” McGarry said.