Michigan’s aim to develop cyber industries, mobility leadership attracts Cisco investment

Nicholas Nerbonne

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Partnership calls for state to be most secure and digitally advanced in U.S.

Cisco Systems will partner with the Michigan Department of Transportation on a “connected roadway” pilot project as part of three-year collaboration to make Michigan “one of the most secure and digitally advanced” in the nation.

The partnership, entitled “State Digital Acceleration” initiative, was announced Oct. 30 at the 2017 North American International Cyber Summit. The plan builds on the state’s commitment to developing its cybersecurity industry, and as the preeminent global location for the design, development and testing of autonomous vehicle technologies. 

Cisco’s initiative and the state’s push to be a global leader in digital and cybersecurity is boosted by Gov. Snyder’s recently announced “Marshall Plan for Talent,” which places a high-education priority on preparing students for jobs in the tech industries. Cisco will fund 300 IT skills scholarships with the aim of attracting more students into the field. By 2020, the company hopes to more than double current enrollment in IT-related courses.

“For a leading Silicon Valley-based tech company like Cisco Systems to make a long-term commitment to advancing the security and development of digital technologies highlights Michigan’s preeminent role as an innovator in the mobility revolution,” said Jeff Mason, CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Cisco is a leading company that provides networking, telecommunications along with a range of high-tech products and services.

While the digital-acceleration program has been launched in 16 countries, Michigan is the first state where the initiative has been established. Cisco cited Michigan’s leadership in mobility, autonomous vehicle technology and engineering talent as prime reasons for the selection.

“The state is electric right now,” Alison Gleeson, senior vice president of Cisco Americas, told the Detroit News.“You feel it as you walk in the city of Detroit. You feel it everywhere.”

Plans of the State Digital Acceleration initiative include:

  • Connected roadway pilot project with MDOT, which is a partnership with Wayne State University to develop a 25,000-square-foot digital manufacturing hub in Detroit.
  • Expanding IT training through Cisco Networking Academy
  • Support to improve state and local government technology.
  • Working with Michigan State University on developing the next generation of global supply chain processes.

In addition to the digital-acceleration program, the Silicon Valley tech giant will partner with the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget to provide enhanced and more secure services and cloud computing to Michigan residents.

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