Governor Snyder recognizes MADCAT efforts to build a talent pipeline for cybersecurity

Governor Rick Snyder attended a stakeholder meeting of the Michigan Automotive & Defense Cyber Awareness Team (MADCAT) held during the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Industry Preview Days at Cobo Center. Focused on MADCAT’s Cybersecurity Career Pathway Project, the purpose of the meeting was to gather information from industry leaders about the growing need for cybersecurity experts so that educational counterparts can build curriculum based on industry need.

Governor Snyder, a self-proclaimed “nerd,” commended the group for their efforts. “Our ability to take the lead in cybersecurity is dependent on public and private partners coming together to make it seamless and easy for people who want to enter the field to get relevant training.” Watch the governor’s remarks.

Other speakers included:

  • County Executive Mark A. Hackel who spoke about exponential growth in the industry based on data gathered by the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development
  • Andrew Smart, Chief Technical Officer for the American Center for Mobility announced that they will be adding a cybersecurity competent to the center.
  • Kevin Baltes, Director & CISP for Product Cybersecurity at General Motors discussed critical needs for the automotive industry
  • Major General Michael Stone, Assistant Adjutant General Installations for the Michigan Army National Guard and Jeff Jaczkowski, Associate Director for US Army TARDEC talked about critical needs for the defense industry

Elaina Farnsworth, CEO for Mobile Comply and lead consultant for the MADCAT Cyber Pathway Initiative, lead an interactive discussion to gather ideas about engaging industry and academia in creating seamless pathways to education and to market this career opportunity to students.

“As the industry emerges, new challenges will be presented to current and future workers,” said Farnsworth. “The future is unclear for tomorrow’s workers given the vast number of interrelationships between rapidly evolving technology, new market entrants and the divergent standards and regulatory efforts being promulgated around the world. As these transitions occur, more value will accrue to those who are educated and understand the evolving industry.”

Michigan’s future success will rely on investment in and commitment to collaboratively creating a clear pathway for our cyber workforce. The State of Michigan has supported the development of cyber infrastructure through a coordinated, interagency approach. To learn more about the resources available to you and your organization go to www.madcat.org

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MADCAT event kicks off NAIAS

As all eyes turn to Detroit for the North American International Auto Show, an elite group met to focus on bringing awareness to the growing need for a skilled cyber workforce. Yesterday, stakeholders for the Michigan Automotive and Defense Cyber Awareness Team (MADCAT) convened at Cobo Hall to discuss the automotive and defense industries aligning for the future cyber generation.

Vicky and gov.Gov. Rick Snyder, a longtime advocate for STEM education, addressed the group. Other notable presenters included Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel and Elaina Farnsworth. The robust professional lineup highlighted that the only viable option is taking an open, collaborative and inclusive approach to preparing for tomorrow today.

Farnsworth, a recognized thought-leader in the space, emphasized that “companies must invest in an educational strategy for both the organization and the workers within it. They must commit to aligning company goals and resources with the proper team members to support that vision.”

Experts estimate over 2 million new jobs will be created within the industry in the next five years. To meet this demand, professionals will need the proper education, training and credentialing within the intelligent transportation space. Many times, companies will need to recruit from within and retrain their existing workers with new and relevant skills.

hackelThe meeting on Thursday was part of an ongoing Cyber Pathways Project launched by MADCAT in 2017. Through a grassroots effort, leaders from the government, education, nonprofit and private sectors formed MADCAT in 2014 to address the growing threat of cybersecurity breaches to our region’s primary industries. MADCAT’s aim is to establish Macomb County as a cybersecurity center of excellence and to attract businesses and institutions that support the development, growth and retention of the talent pool.

For more information or to get involved with the project, visit madcat.org.

There is still time to participate in the 5th Annual  Business Super Prepared

SuperPrepared-Logo_Trans_ColorBusiness owners must expect the unexpected—AND prepare for it! That’s the message of the 5th Annual  Business Super Prepared”, a conference and expo planned for Wednesday, September 27, at the Lorenzo Cultural Center, Macomb Community College, in Clinton Township.

Top area hospitals and county emergency management teams have joined forces to present this event along with the Macomb County Chamber.

“We read headlines every day about terrible situations that businesses go through—from fires to workplace violence to computer security breaches,” said Grace Shore, CEO of the Macomb County Chamber.  “While we can’t predict what will happen, we can and should do our best to be prepared. Having a plan in place with the ability to respond quickly could mean the difference between business survival and failure.”

Local industry experts will present workshops and case studies on topics including:

  • Cyber Security – Single Employee Click
  • Managing Disruptive Behaviors
  • Being Prepared: A Community Responsibility
  • Human Trafficking
  • Case Study: Equifax Security Breach and what it means to you!

Event sponsors are: Beaumont Hospitals, United Shore Baseball League, General Motors, Accident Fund and McLaren Macomb.  This event is presented in partnership with Leadership Macomb and Macomb County Emergency Management.

“This is really valuable information that everyone needs to consider. We hope our business community and area municipalities will take advantage of the dynamic program and resources that we have assembled,” said Vicki Wolber, director of Macomb County Emergency Management and Communications.

The conference and expo take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Macomb Community College’s Lorenzo Cultural Center. The event costs $15 and includes continental breakfast and lunch and vendor show. Register online at Macomb County Chamber or phone (586) 493-7600 with questions.

Velocity introduces hacking tools in cyber training course

The Velocity Hub of the Michigan Cyber Range offers those looking to hone their offensive and defensive cybersecurity skills the opportunity to do so at the next Guided Capture the Flag course June 15.

This daylong program enables students to engage in live attacks on networked systems in a secured environment. Students will learn the fundamentals of hacking tools, techniques and methodologies. Topics such as password exploitation and storage, proxy chaining and SQL vulnerabilities will be covered. This is a great starting point for anyone interested as it is tailored to each participant, allowing students to dig as deep into the exercise as they are able.

This capture the flag exercise is hosted on the Michigan Cyber Range, the nation’s largest unclassified training cyber range, and takes place in a virtual training environment known as Alphaville. This is a simulated town that includes a school, library, power and electric, private business and city hall. Alphaville was created by Nathan Dragun who is the instructor for this class as well as the director of development for the Michigan Cyber Range.

Dragun has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Western Michigan University. He has completed advanced training in network security and artificial intelligence and has more than 13 years of experience solving complex technical issues in areas of security, computer networking, software development and architectural design.

Guided Capture the Flag takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 15 at the Velocity Hub of the Michigan Cyber Range, 6633 18 Mile Road, Sterling Heights, 48314. The cost is $625, and registration information can be found at www.oakland.edu/macombouinc/cyber-institute/education. There are no pre-qualifications to enroll. For more information, contact Joan Carleton at macinc@oakland.edu or (586) 884-9324.

Velocity image

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in business outreach and communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

New cybersecurity hub latest in Macomb County workforce enhancements

20170124_085350Seeking to be at the forefront of workforce development, Macomb County celebrated the opening of the new Michigan Cyber Range Hub at Wayne State’s Advance Technology Education Center in Warren this week. This new hub will provide hands-on experience for students in areas of cybersecurity, hosting activities such as digital capture-the-flag events where participants use skills to work on digital penetration and forensics to gather clues and collect evidence in a timed and scored environment.

Operated by Ann Arbor-based nonprofit Merit Network Inc., the hub provides its services through the Wayne State College of Engineering and Division of Educational Outreach. The hub is the latest in a network of cyber ranges already in place in Macomb County. Velocity, Selfridge Air National Guard Base and General Dynamics Land Systems all feature fully operational cybersecurity hubs.

The opening ceremony brought together a regional network of workforce development partners including Wayne State University Provost Keith Whitfield; Sean Carlson, executive director of the Michigan Defense Center; Jim Jacobs, president of Macomb Community College; Joseph Sawasky, president and CEO of Merit Network; and Tricia Walding, senior project manager with the Workforce Intelligence Network.

20170124_091930Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel was on hand for the ceremony and remarked how the opening reflects a continued trend of Macomb County’s readiness to compete in a globally competitive market and of the county’s emergence as a front runner in the information technology industry.

“I was born and raised within a stone’s throw of this place,” Hackel said. “The transformation of Macomb County has been absolutely incredible. This will bring together educators and industry for the betterment of all southeastern Michigan. We look forward to sharing the hub with the community.”

Resources to create the hub were provided in support from the Southeast Michigan Defense Industry Adjustment Grant through the Office of Economic Adjustment in the Department of Defense.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, providing content for the Macomb Business and Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org.

IT jobs growing in Macomb County

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected through technology, Macomb County is on the cutting edge of the information technology (IT) and cybersecurity industries.

There are currently 367 companies that make up Macomb County’s network of IT and cybersecurity businesses. Collectively, they employ more than 8,000 workers (and growing!). These companies are utilizing sophisticated software systems and the latest in technology to revolutionize security.

IT1At the Velocity Hub of the Michigan Cyber Range, Macomb County companies have access to the resources they need to secure their connected products. Certification classes in more than 20 different cybersecurity disciplines equip our workforce with the knowledge needed to excel in this growing industry.

The county is also home to MADCAT (Michigan Automotive & Defense Cyber Assurance Team), an organization devoted to supporting the region’s cyber ecosystem. Through collaborative partnerships, MADCAT focuses on driving technology innovation forward.

Jobs are available and growing across all fields of IT and cybersecurity. Here is a snapshot of some of the fastest growing in June of this year.

IT2

The business development team of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development is here to help.  Our job is to be knowledgeable about and connected to a wide assortment of programs available to help businesses succeed.

Our services are free, confidential and easily accessed.  Simply get in touch, and we will arrange for your team to meet with our seasoned professionals. We will listen to your goals to grow your business, discuss current and anticipated barriers and discuss options for getting you on your way.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business and Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org.

Connected technologies take root in Macomb

H3-160609887On Wednesday at the Mackinac Policy Conference, Gov. Rick Snyder introduced the state’s new Planet M initiative, which focuses on branding Michigan’s mobility assets, especially autonomous and connected vehicle technology. The importance of connected technologies continues to grow in today’s economy. Macomb County is already taking steps to promote economic development in this cyber arena as is seen in the development of key assets such as MADCAT (Michigan Automotive & Defense Cyber Assurance Team) and the Velocity Hub of the Michigan Cyber Range.

When the Velocity Hub in Sterling Heights celebrated its grand opening in March, it joined the ranks of other cyber ranges in the county including at Selfridge Air National Guard Base and General Dynamics Land Systems’ MC2. However, the unclassified Velocity Hub is different because it is the only one open to the public, providing resources for local businesses and entrepreneurs.

FrontCyberRangeFor a fee, companies looking to test the security of their connected products can undergo a full day of penetration testing at the Velocity Hub. This will test the product against a checklist of best practices and result in a comprehensive final report detailing potential security vulnerabilities. The Velocity Hub also leases space for companies to utilize a virtual sandbox. Equipped with hardware and software, this enables startups and emerging companies to test the products they’re developing in a secure environment.

Also available are cybersecurity certification courses. These courses are perfect for an employer looking to fortify his or her staff with advanced cybersecurity knowledge as well as for the individual looking to build his or her resume. Various certification courses will be offered through Mile2 starting at the end of this month. Each course is five days long with a certification exam on the last day. The price ranges from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on the course.

Another unique facet of the Velocity Hub is that it is managed by the Macomb-OU INCubator and is housed in the same facility at the Velocity Collaboration Center. As such, startups have the option to lease office space at the incubator, giving them access to support services, classes and a network of other promising entrepreneurs.

It is no wonder MADCAT often chooses the Velocity Collaboration Center as the location for their quarterly meetings. Close proximity to the Velocity Hub, flexible seating options and a large projection screen available for presentations make it the perfect meeting space for this cybersecurity-focused organization.

As Michigan strives to gain dominance in the race to create autonomous vehicles, collaborative partnerships are happening in Macomb County to offer resources, tools and guidance to enable the mobility industry to grow.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in Business Outreach and Communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.