skip to Main Content


New Education Collaboration to Address Shortage of Cybersecurity Professionals

DETROIT – Thousands of people will receive cybersecurity training in the coming years, thanks to a new education collaboration announced by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder today at the 2016 International Cyber Summit at Cobo Center.

A new educational partnership, the Regional Cybersecurity Education Collaboration (RCEC), works to boost the pool of available cybersecurity workers in Michigan and beyond. Central Michigan University, Northern Michigan University and Wayne State University are the initial partners, led by the Michigan Cyber Range, powered by Merit Network .

custom training

The aim is to provide cybersecurity curriculum and certification courses that train students and IT professionals on the latest in cybersecurity skills and techniques while forging a larger cybersecurity ecosystem in Michigan.

According to a recent Forbes article, more than 209,000 cybersecurity jobs in the United States are unfilled, and demand is expected to grow to six million globally by 2019, with a projected shortfall of 1.5 million. Key industries in Michigan, including automotive, defense, energy and health care, are relying more heavily on cybersecurity professionals to defend their organizations and their customers from cyber attacks.

“Michigan is facing a dire shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals, and the problem is exacerbated due to increasingly-sophisticated cyber threats,” said Joe Sawasky, president and CEO, Merit Network. “Luckily, Michigan has a robust and capable higher education system to meet the challenge.”

“The RCEC’s goal is to develop a statewide ecosystem for cyber education, where colleges and universities work together to maximize their impact on workforce development.,” added Sawasky. ‘Merit is well-positioned to help coordinate this program, given its many educational partners and advanced technology infrastructure. We fully expect to grow this nascent program over the coming years.”

The RCEC will operate with its partners to leverage the expertise of the its higher education partners, the Michigan Cyber Range and the fiber-optic infrastructure of Merit Network to deliver cybersecurity training, testing and exercise support to meet current and evolving national standards. Technical donors include Cisco Systems, who provided enterprise video distribution equipment and Sentinel Systems of Ann Arbor, who will be providing installation. The long-term goal is to provide a robust cybersecurity curriculum to institutions throughout the state via a mix of face-to-face and distance learning courses at two-year and four-year colleges.

“Every organization needs a robust security strategy, and the right strategy begins with the right security team,” said Alison Gleeson, SVP, Cisco Americas. “Thanks to this initiative led by Merit, the State of Michigan, and the other education partners, Michigan will empower a next-generation workforce of cybersecurity professionals to meet security needs for our citizens, our businesses, and our future. Cisco is proud to be a partner, providing video technology to help RCEC rapidly scale training across Michigan. Together, we are rising to the challenge.”

The RCEC is seeking support from private organizations for scholarships throughout the state to provide cybersecurity education and certifications. Scholarship partners will have direct access to the workforce and talent that their generous support has helped create through RCEC internship programs and employment opportunities.


About Michigan Cyber Range

The Michigan Cyber Range prepares cybersecurity professionals to detect, prevent and mitigate cyber-attacks in a real-world setting. Like a test track or a firing range, the Michigan Cyber Range enables individuals and organizations to conduct “live fire” exercises: simulations that test the detection and reaction skills of participants in a variety of situations. The Michigan Cyber Range also offers certification courses for a number of cybersecurity disciplines, with instruction available on-site and live online. A full training schedule may be found at the Merit Michigan Cyber Range web site.

The Michigan Cyber Range is hosted and facilitated by Merit Network in partnership with the State of Michigan and with the sponsorship of DTE Energy.

About Merit Network

Merit Network, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities. Merit owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its formation, Merit Network has remained on the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

For more information: