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MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University is officially home to the Upper Peninsula Cybersecurity Institute. It’s only facility of its kind in the U.P. and the sixth such facility in the state. It offers non-degree and industry credentials that are relevant to emerging careers in cybersecurity.
Events were held today to celebrate the grand opening that included a ribbon cutting ceremony, a panel discussion and high school students testing out the new equipment.
“Part of my team, we built everything. We maintain it, we go around and we do these events. These hubs are our extension centers. So we’re able to draw in folks from the community that otherwise it would be available to but they really wouldn’t know where we are,” says Joe Adams, Ph.D., Executive Director, Michigan Cyber Range.
Steve Vandenavond, Vice President, Extended Learning and Community Engagement at NMU adds, “We’ve always had the problem of having really smart, talented people who then have to leave because there aren’t as many job opportunities in the Upper Peninsula. Well cybersecurity is a profession that you can engage in remotely. So what we’re hoping to do is not only train people here in the Upper Peninsula but then allow them to stay and work remotely.”
Anyone is able to use the new facility.
———- View the official press release about the facility below ———-
Northern Michigan University, Merit Network and the Michigan Defense Center unveiled the latest addition to the Michigan Cyber Range Network today at the NMU Cyber Hub Grand Opening. This event included a tour of the new cyber range and a live, virtual Capture the Flag exercise with IT professionals.
“The Upper Peninsula Cybersecurity Institute is going to be a game-changer not only for NMU and area high school students, but also for those switching careers and those looking to advance their careers throughout the U.P.,” said Steve VandenAvond, vice president of extended learning and community engagement at Northern Michigan University. “We are confident that the teaching, training and testing offerings that the institute provides in partnership with the Merit Network and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will cultivate U.P. participation in the new economy and foster economic development throughout the region. With the increasing demand for cybersecurity experts nationwide, the ability to earn industry credentials online through the institute and the expanding opportunities for cybersecurity professionals to work remotely, we will be able to develop cybersecurity talent throughout the U.P. and keep people living and working here.”
Cyber Range Hubs establish Michigan as the national epicenter for security training and workforce development, with each site hosting events, exercises and training classes. Statewide hubs operate as a physical extension of the Michigan Cyber Range, the nation’s largest unclassified cyber range. The hubs offer more than forty industry-recognized certifications, exercises and workshops aimed at qualifying individuals for positions and contracts in cybersecurity fields.
“Northern Michigan University has been a key partner of the Michigan Defense Center and MEDC in the statewide Protect & Grow initiative. They have taken brought strong representation for the Upper Peninsula and have played a critical role in developing the defense industry,” said Sean Carlson, executive director for the Michigan Defense Center. “Today’s Cyber Hub is an important new asset that will support the development of the defense industry in northern Michigan and more importantly be key to creating good paying jobs for those that live in the U.P.”
The expansion of the Michigan Cyber Range, powered by Merit, is a critical strategy included in the 2015 Michigan Cyber Initiative spearheaded by the State of Michigan. As a state-run test program that hones security software and cyber defense skills, the Michigan Cyber Range offers cyber exercises, product testing, digital forensics and more than 40 professional certifications based on the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) framework.
“The Cyber Range Hub at NMU gives its students and the community access to world class, hands-on cybersecurity education. Cyber Range Hubs serve as a magnet site for the cybersecurity ecosystem. This partnership is a great opportunity for Merit, Michigan, and the people of the Upper Peninsula, and I’m sure it will have an immediate positive impact on these students and the area’s workforce,” said Doctor Joe Adams, vice president of research and cyber security at Merit Network.
The Michigan Defense Center is an operation of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation focused on the support, protection and growth of Michigan’s defense and homeland security missions and the Michigan businesses that support our nation’s security and our military’s safety. Since 2015, the Michigan Defense Center on behalf of the MEDC has provided funding for cyber ranges in Battle Creek, Macomb Oakland University Incubator in Sterling Heights, Pinckney Community High School, Wayne State University, and West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT). These hubs serve as the focal point for the cyber ecosystem within their communities.