Neal Celebrates Nearly $1.5 Million to Support Cyber Range and Security Operation Center at Springfield Union Station
Springfield, MA, October 31, 2022
Congressman Richard E. Neal, Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means celebrated the recent announcement by the Baker-Polito Administration and the MassCyberCenter at the MassTech Collaborative regarding a new initiative to promote the development of a diverse cybersecurity workforce and improve local cyber resiliency in the Commonwealth that will bring $1,462,995 to Springfield.
This funding will allow Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) to establish a security operation center, or SOC, at Springfield Union Station that will provide threat monitoring and other cybersecurity services for Commonwealth municipalities and small business/non-profit customers. The funds will also establish a cyber range, a new testing lab to mirror real-world IT environments to provide hands-on training opportunities available to local companies, universities, and other cyber-focused organizations.
Congressman Neal was joined on Monday afternoon at Springfield Union Station by Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno; Springfield Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Amanda Pham; STCC President Dr. John B. Cook; CEO of CyberTrust Massachusetts Pete Sherlock; Director of the MassCyberCenter Stephanie Helm; and local leaders to celebrate this tremendous award for the Greater Springfield region.
“Springfield Union Station is a world-class transportation hub that will now be home to a world-class cybersecurity training and security management center,” said Congressman Neal. “The Baker-Polito Administration has worked hand-in-hand with the City of Springfield, STCC team, and my office to make this a reality.”
Mayor Sarno stated, “I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for their continued support for our Springfield and Dr. John Cook, President of STCC, for his continued support, belief and investment in our Springfield community. This $1.5 million investment to STCC for this transformative and dynamic Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (CCE) at our historic Union Station will support the State’s workforce development objectives around cybersecurity with promoting diversity and supporting that good four-letter word, JOBS! I want to also thank Congressman Neal who, once a mayor always the heart of a mayor, continues to advocate for our Commonwealth and city of Springfield on the federal level by securing funding and support for all kinds of good initiatives that promote economic development and job opportunities for our residents.”
The facility will be overseen by a Steering Committee of public, private, and academic stakeholders, which will include the Springfield Redevelopment Authority (SRA), the owners of Union Station.
“Union Station is uniquely positioned to accommodate the Cyber Center as it serves as the region’s intermodal transportation center at the crossroads of New England providing rail and bus service to our area’s diverse population,” said Amanda Pham, Executive Director of the SRA. “We thank the Baker-Polito Administration and MassCyberCenter for the award and designation as a Cybersecurity Center of Excellence and congratulate STCC on this milestone. These funds coupled with the City of Springfield’s commitment of $500K will allow for the advancement of design and construction of this transformative center.”
STCC is the lead entity which will develop both a Cyber Range and SOC within the City of Springfield’s Union Station complex, serving Western Massachusetts and beyond. STCC will staff and operate the facility in partnership with a consortia of area higher education institutions (Bay Path University, UMass Amherst, Western New England University, Elms College, and Springfield College), each of which bring a range of undergraduate certificate and degree programs in IT/Security, Cybersecurity, Computer Science and Programming, Digital Forensics, and Criminal Justice. Another facility will be based at Bridgewater State University.
The grant to STCC will cover renovation and construction of the Union Station space, which is estimated to open in Q1/Q2 2024, based on the initial timeline provided. The proposed facility will include a classroom and a conference room for up to 60 people, able to accommodate cyber-related events and to serve as a space for collaboration, in addition to separate classroom space, workstations for use by academic partners, offices for facility staff, tech support area, kitchen, and storage.
As part of a site-based service arrangement, STCC will provide administrative oversight for the facility, including all HR for employees and hiring of key personnel, plus the establishment of electronic systems management.
“With the help of EOHED, the MassCyberCenter, and the City of Springfield, this cybersecurity award will be transformative for our region and higher education,” said Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) President John B. Cook. “As one of the most pervasive liabilities for our businesses and communities, these funds ensure a regional center that will be a nexus for the cyber workforce with hands-on learning, in addition to establishing a resource for protecting our community partners against cybersecurity threats.”
“This first-of-its-kind collaboration among business, higher ed, and government through CyberTrust Massachusetts could transform our cyber education and training--growing our workforce and creating new opportunities statewide--while helping to make our communities more cyber resilient,” said Pete Sherlock, CEO, CyberTrust Massachusetts.
Stephanie Helm, Director of the MassCyberCenter said, “We see these as the initial investments in a cyber secure future, important investments to build out our plan for a ‘Cyber Resilient Massachusetts. The key word is ‘resilient,’ as no organization is successful 100% of the time when it comes to defending against cyber attacks. With the new monitoring capabilities, organizations can increase awareness, detect intrusions faster, and respond more quickly to an incident.”
Since its launch in September 2017, the Cyber Center’s focus has been on enhancing opportunities for the Massachusetts cybersecurity ecosystem to compete as the national cybersecurity leader and to strengthen the resiliency of the Commonwealth’s public and private communities. Today’s grant is the first investment in infrastructure that addresses that dual mission.
The Center continues to be shaped by the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Strategy Council and working groups focused on cyber resiliency, cybersecurity training and education, and a monthly healthcare-focused series. In addition the annual Cybersecurity Forum, the Center has also managed the successful statewide mentorship program to boost diverse talent, workforce training grants, municipal cyber planning workshops to address municipal incident response planning, and the launch of the ‘Minimum Baseline for Cybersecurity,’ a series of interactive videos aimed at organizations starting their cyber resiliency planning.
October 2022 was officially proclaimed ‘Massachusetts Cybersecurity Month in the Commonwealth,’ which coincides with Cybersecurity Awareness Month nationally.