A Michigan cybersecurity collaboration recognized a gap in the industry's education and training, and has been recognized this week for its pro-active approach to fixing it. The Michigan Automotive and Defense Cyber Awareness Team (MADCAT) received an achievement award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for its work as an innovative and effective county government initiative that strengthen services for residents.
MADCAT supports partners in the defense and automotive industry by enhancing cybersecurity efforts in Macomb County and connecting solution providers to critical challenges. The organization partners with companies such as Sterling Heights’ General Dynamics Land Systems and facilities such as the Velocity Hub of the Michigan Cyber Range to develop and retain a talented cybersecurity workforce.
MADCAT was developed to address the growing threat of cybersecurity breaches to the region’s primary industries and aims to create a sustainable model by attracting new cybersecurity businesses and raising awareness.
“In 2014, the state of cyber looked very different than it does today in Michigan,” says Janelle Arbuckle-Michael from Macomb’s Department of Planning and Economic Development. “There weren’t cyber related programs in universities and K-12 educational institutions, yet there was a definite need within the automotive and defense industries.”
Today, 39 institutions in the county offer programs, degrees or training related to cybersecurity. In total, students can choose among more than 90 degree programs and 80 certification programs in the southeast Michigan region.
"MADCAT identified a pressing need for our future workforce to be prepared to meet a forecasted 116 percent increase in job openings in cybersecurity and took action," says Vicky Rad, director for the Macomb Department of Planning and Economic Development. "As a direct result, 10 Macomb County school districts are offering coursework in cybersecurity at levels K-12. This is a win for students who pursue careers in this well-paying field and for the businesses that drive our economy."
One initiative the group is particularly proud of is the fostering of a partnership between training facility Pinckney Cyber Hub and Anchor Bay High School. This will provide a virtual classroom for high school students who want to earn Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.
“Students from Anchor Bay High School will now be able to take cyber courses virtually that can result in future certifications,” says Arbuckle-Michael. “Without the support and partners within MADCAT, many of these discussions wouldn’t take place.”
NACo also announced Macomb County as a recipient of four other 2019 Achievement Awards this week. The Macomb County IT Department was awarded for it’s School Emergency Response Services, the county’s health department was recognized for its Move More Macomb program and its Response to the Hepatitis A Outbreak program while the Department of Planning and Economic Development was also awarded for its Macomb County Public Art Map.
“I’m thrilled to have Macomb County once again recognized by the National Association of Counties,” says Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel. “Our departments and county employees are committed to serving our communities and ensuring that Macomb is a great place to live, work and play. These awards are proof that they’re doing a great job and that their programs and initiatives are having a major impact.”