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Cybersecurity is focus of new Cyber Range Hub at ATEC

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January 25, 2017

A new Cyber Range Hub at Wayne State University provides lab space for cybersecurity training, testing and teaching, ensuring the region’s workforce and students have the tools needed to expand skills and provide employers with the proficient and prepared workforce that makes southeastern Michigan a technological powerhouse.

The Hub opened Jan. 24 in the university’s Advanced Technology Education Center in Warren. Students will use the Hub for courses in cybersecurity; private companies can book space to test software, applications and a variety of cyber assets and to upgrade the skills of their employees; and individuals seeking professional development can enroll in noncredit cybersecurity courses. 

“This Cyber Range Hub is an exciting collaboration among public institutions, the government and private industry,” says Wayne State Provost Keith Whitfield. “Working with partners at the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative and Merit, we’ve been able to create a cybersecurity lab that will bring together educators and industry for the betterment of all of southeastern Michigan.”

The project is funded by a federal grant managed by the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan. WIN Executive Director Lisa Katz says the Hub serves the region as a platform for preventing and reacting to cyberattacks while supporting and building a workforce pipeline.

“The Hub is important in growing interest and exposure to careers in cybersecurity, while also providing a resource for businesses to test and harden their product software,” Katz says. “Ultimately, the Hub will enhance a needed talent in southeast Michigan and offer benefits for the entire community.”

 According to WIN, 69 percent of cybersecurity job-related postings require a bachelor’s degree and 13 percent require a graduate degree, while the top three cyber jobs in highest demand in southeast Michigan are information security analysts, software developers of applications and computer systems engineers/architects.

Changes in the transportation industry such as research and production of autonomous cars will demand employees with expertise in advanced technology, security and safety. Jennifer Tisdale, cyber mobility program manager for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., a funding partner of the Hub, says skill-building is a major focus.

“The MEDC Defense Center supports the expansion of the Michigan Cyber Range to Michigan’s communities as a resource to develop the next generation of cyber talent, support emerging technology and innovation and to support the advances of core Michigan technology industries including mobility, advanced manufacturing and smart technology development,” Tisdale says.

At the core of the Hub, which is part of the Michigan Cyber Range project lead by Merit Network, is offering more education resources for traditional students, IT employees who want to bolster their skills and employees looking to make a job change.

“Opening a Cyber Range Hub at the Advanced Technology Education Center expands the availability and quality of cybersecurity education available in southeastern Michigan,” William Adams, vice president for research and cybersecurity and executive director of the Michigan Cyber Range, Merit Network, says. “Our strong partnership with Wayne State continues to be a key factor to the growth of the Michigan Cyber Range and we look forward to using this new Hub as a launching point for future endeavors. 

Funding for the Cyber Range Hubs Advance Michigan Defense Colloborative grant was received from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment. The grant is made possible via match funding from the MEDC Michigan Defense Center and the focus on cybersecurity as part of the MEDC Cyber Program. MEDC is proud to collaborate with Macomb County, the Macomb/St. Clair Workforce Development Board and the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan to continue to deliver the Michigan Cyber Range resource powered by the Merit Network to develop and attract Michigan talent and businesses growing in the connected and autonomous space.

About Michigan Cyber Range

The Michigan Cyber Range prepares cybersecurity professionals to detect, prevent and mitigate cyber-attacks in a real-world setting. Like a test track or a firing range, the Michigan Cyber Range enables individuals and organizations to conduct “live fire” exercises: simulations that test the detection and reaction skills of participants in a variety of situations. The Michigan Cyber Range also offers certification courses for a number of cybersecurity disciplines, with instruction available on-site and live online. A full training schedule may be found at the Merit Michigan Cyber Range web site: www.merit.edu/cyberrange/

The Michigan Cyber Range is hosted and facilitated by Merit Network in partnership with the State of Michigan and with the sponsorship of DTE Energy.

About Merit Network

Merit Network, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities. Merit owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its formation, Merit Network has remained on the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions to Michigan’s public universities, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

About the Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative

The Cyber Range Hub was created with support from the Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative, a group of organizations that provides immediate and sustained assistance to firms and workers in a 13-county region in southeast Michigan affected by reduced Department of Defense procurement. The group coordinates assistance to organizations that promote research, industrial development and talent development relevant to the defense industry. Efforts support resiliency and capacity in autonomous transportation and connected mobility, the lightweight materials manufacturing sector and information technology, with a focus on increasing security of automated transportation systems and products. The core coalition of partners includes the Macomb/St. Clair Workforce Development Board, Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan, Michigan Defense Center-an operation of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Merit Network and Macomb County Office of Economic Development and Planning. 

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