SPRINGFIELD – Congressman Richard Neal has announced a $3 million federal budget to help establish a Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (CCE) within Union Station. This allocation was made possible through the Department of Education’s Congressional Directed Spending (CDS).
The project received a $1.46 million state grant in October 2022.
Both funding sources will be used to establish CCE, which will be jointly developed and operated with MassCyberCenter. Along with strengthening its cybersecurity efforts, CCE provides hands-on training and professional opportunities for local college students to develop their skills in the cybersecurity sector.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno also contributed $500,000 to the developing CCE.
Once established, CCE will function as a regional entity. CCE will employ four full-time employees and include about 15 to her 20 students in training roles.
Neil made the announcement inside Union Station. Sarno, STCC President John Cook, Springfield Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Amanda Pham, speaking on the funding announcement, American International College President Hubert Benitez, University of Bay Pass President Sandra Dolan, Elms College Harry Rector Dumay was present to assist the project.
Neil emphasized how important cybersecurity has become in today’s society. He said cybersecurity measures are deeply embedded in his daily role as an MP.
“We talk about it all the time in Washington. [or] Intelligence aggregators who don’t talk about cybersecurity…even when members of Congress go to briefings, they check your phone, [security] With a cane,” said Neil.
Neil highlighted the educational benefits of CCE. The congressman envisions a project to develop a beneficial “ecosystem” for educational institutions and communities.
“Not only is this an important use of space, but having a university with this reputation makes a huge difference. It creates its own ecosystem and its own community,” said Neal.
Neil also discussed the positive impact CCE will have on future generations.
“I think this is a worthy investment and generations will benefit from what we have been doing,” said Neil.
Cook said he first proposed CCE to Neal several years ago. He shared that the project received more funding than expected.
“You rarely ask for a certain amount and get more than that,” says Cook.
In addition, Cook emphasized the overall impact of CCE on educational institutions and various other sectors.
“Today, a combination of local, state, and federal funding is bringing sustainability to efforts to bring cyber learning to local higher education, and the Security Operations Center is supporting local governments in their efforts to strengthen cyber protection. , nonprofits, and businesses,” Cook said.
Sarno also celebrated CCE’s opportunity to provide education, additional jobs and enhanced cybersecurity throughout western Massachusetts.
“This also brings training to work with local higher education institutions here, as well as job opportunities that are good four-letter words,” Sarno said.
Sarno thanked Neal for securing funding for a local project.
“The former mayor will always be the mayor’s heart, [Neal] I will never forget my hometown here in Springfield,” Sarno said.
Pham talked about how CCE will be an important addition to Springfield.
“This center will strengthen the cybersecurity resilience of Western Massachusetts while empowering our workforce to meet the needs of this evolving industry.Western Massachusetts is home to many institutions of higher education and student It is encouraging to see partnerships being built to improve the lives of the community as a whole,” said Pham.
The development of CCE is one of 15 CDS projects Neal has secured funding for. A total of 15 projects exceed his $20 million.