Cybersecurity focus of new Cyber Range Hub at Wayne State University

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 several partners (full list, below), including 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 Collective grant was received from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment. The grant is made possible via match funding from the MEDC 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.