MARQUETTE—Northern Michigan University, Merit Network Inc. and the Michigan Defense Center unveiled the latest addition to the Michigan Cyber Range Network this week 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 NMU. “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 host cybersecurity events, exercises and training classes. They operate as a physical extension of the Michigan Cyber Range, the nation’s largest unclassified cyber range. The hubs offer more than 40 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,” said Sean Carlson, executive director of the Michigan Defense Center. “They have brought strong representation for the Upper Peninsula and have played a critical role in developing the defense industry. 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 state government. 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,” said Merit Network’s vice president of research and cybersecurity, Joe Adams. “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.”
The Michigan Defense Center is an operation of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. 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 has provided funding for cyber ranges in Battle Creek, the Macomb-Oakland University Incubator in Sterling Heights, Pinckney Community High School, Wayne State University, and the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology in Grand Rapids.
Merit Network was established by the Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University in 1966 to connect the three schools’ mainframe computers. Since its formation, Merit has evolved to own and operate America’s longest-running regional research and education network, providing services to universities, colleges, K-12 schools, libraries, state government, health care and other nonprofit institutions. More at www.merit.edu.
Founded in 1899 as a teacher training institution, NMU now offers liberal arts and science programs at the undergraduate and master’s degree levels to about 7,000 students. It is the Upper Peninsula’s largest university. More at www.nmu.edu.