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.
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.
The 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.
Aiming to be a central source for news and events related to cybersecurity, the revamped
MADCAT (Michigan Automotive & Defense Cyber Assurance Team) website has officially launched at MADCAT.org.
The MADCAT website features several partners that have contributed to the organization’s efforts of growing the cybersecurity community.
MADCAT’s talent partners include local colleges and universities with programs ranging from certificate courses to master’s degrees. These programs help to further train and engage our regional talent pool in cybersecurity activities. One such talent partner, Walsh College, has the unique distinction of being named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, a status designated by the National Security Agency.
Institutional partners named on the site include a range of businesses, nonprofits and military representatives. Several of the institutional partners have established private cyber testing ranges; however, the Velocity Hub of the Michigan Cyber Range at Macomb-OU INCubator remains the sole cyber range accessible to the public.
The site’s Resources tab contains links to tools that both the public and governmental agencies can utilize to ensure their networks are secure. The state of Michigan has several informational resources featured on the site, including the cyber disruption strategy and Michigan Cyber Initiative. A 25-minute video with Brig. Gen. Michael Stone features a panel discussion on how cybersecurity threats are monitored, prevented and addressed by both the automotive and defense industries. As these industries in particular continue to power Macomb County’s economic growth, it is vital for business owners and employees to be aware of potential threats and how to prevent a cyberattack.
Look for events and MADCAT quarterly meetings on the calendar – the group is open to the public and new members are always welcome.
The website’s redesign was the result of a visioning process the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development undertook with Mount Clemens-based digital marketing agency Hunch Free.
Alyssa Tracey is a senior economic development specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.