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Sen. MacDonald applauds cybersecurity grant

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Michael D. MacDonald is applauding the University of Detroit Mercy for receiving a $1.12-million cybersecurity grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The grant was awarded to help establish the Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute, a regional-based, cybersecurity consortium designed to expand and enhance the cybersecurity engineering workforce through an applied curriculum developed in consultation with industry partners.

“This is outstanding news for Detroit, Macomb, our state and our entire region,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “Cybersecurity is an increasing serious and complex issue facing our citizens, businesses and governments. This grant will enlist some of our best educational institutions in this international fight and help support training people for work in this in-demand field, especially our current military service members and veterans.”

Detroit Mercy will receive the grant as the lead institution for the consortium, which includes Macomb Community College, Oakland Community College, Washtenaw Community College and the University of Arizona. The University of Michigan and Henry Ford College will join the consortium as it enters its second phase during the 2023-24 academic year.

The grant is awarded through Griffiss Institute’s Virtual Institutes for Cyber and Electromagnetic Spectrum Research and Employ (VICEROY) program, which establishes cyber institutes at higher learning institutions with the purpose of critical cyber operational skill development for future military and civilian leaders.

“With a focus on providing opportunities for people to protect both defense and commercial vehicle systems, this consortium is exactly the type of innovation we need, and the Michigan Legislative Aerospace and Defense caucus looks to helping keep the momentum moving forward,” said MacDonald, who co-chairs the bipartisan caucus with Rep. Joe Tate, D-Detroit.

The Metro-Detroit Regional Vehicle Cybersecurity Institute aims to become self-sustained after the fourth year of the program, with goals of developing qualified cybersecurity graduates and creating a multi-pathway educational structure that meets the needs of the vehicle industry and government partners.

Paul Spadafora, director of Professional Engineering Programs for Detroit Mercy’s College of Engineering and Science, said it’s important to establish the consortium because cybersecurity is a growing threat.

“Without an increase to the workforce now, the cybersecurity risk to Department of Defense and commercial ground vehicles will keep falling further behind the increasing threats from actors in multi-domain contested environments,” said Spadafora, who is a co-principal investigator for the consortium, along with College of Engineering and Science Dean Katherine Snyder.