Governor Snyder Announces New Cyber Hubs at Northern Michigan University and University of Michigan-Flint

Monday, October 29, 2018

Marquette and Flint cyber hubs will be the sixth and seventh additions to the Michigan Cyber Range Network

DETROIT, Mich. –Two new cyber hubs in Marquette and Flint will be opening as part of the Michigan Cyber Range Network, Governor Rick Snyder announced today at the 2018 North American Cyber Summit in Detroit. 

The hubs at Northern Michigan University and at the University of Michigan-Flint are planned to open in partnership with Merit Network and the Michigan Defense Center, an extension of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in the next six months and will help expand the cyber ecosystem to the Upper Peninsula and Genesee County.   

“This next installment in the Michigan Cyber Range continues the development of a robust statewide cybersecurity community,” Snyder said. “These regional cyber hubs position Michigan to be a leader in driving the next generation of cybersecurity protections and training a workforce able to support cybers initiatives across many industries.” 

“Northern Michigan University (NMU) appreciates the opportunity to facilitate this new-economy employment catalyst in the Upper Peninsula and enhance the security of U.P. residents and businesses against cyber-attacks and crimes,” said Steve VandenAvond, program manager and NMU vice president for Extended Learning and Community Engagement. “There are more than 300,000 unfilled cybersecurity-related jobs nationwide and 7,000 in Michigan. NMU is eager to lead the U.P. effort to close the talent gap in collaboration with education and industry partners. Our hub will offer accelerated paths to careers in the industry, augment NMU's existing cyber defense academic program, and provide training and certification for professionals. The portability of cybersecurity careers makes them an ideal fit for individuals who want to be gainfully employed while enjoying the U.P.'s highly desirable lifestyle and geography.” 

“The University of Michigan-Flint recently added several emerging areas of study and training to our campus and serving as a hub for the Michigan Cyber Network adds to that momentum,” said Susan E. Borrego, Chancellor UM-Flint.  “We are excited to be a part of this statewide initiative and look forward to cultivating a talented cybersecurity workforce through leading-edge education and training.”  

Cyber Range Hubs establish Michigan as the national epicenter for security training and workforce development, hosting events, exercises and training classes. Statewide hubs operate as a physical extension of the Michigan Cyber Range, the nation’s largest unclassified cyber range.  

The hubs offer industry-recognized certifications, exercises and workshops aimed at qualifying individuals for positions and contracts in cybersecurity fields. 

“In Governor Snyder’s Protect & Grow initiative, the Michigan Defense Center is executing against one of the key objectives, which is to lead the nation in Department of Defense/State Cyber Operations Integration,” said Sean Carlson, Executive Director of the Michigan Defense Center. “The State of Michigan is without a doubt one of the nationwide leaders when it comes to integrating both the state and federal government in cyber operations. These new cyber ranges are just another example of Michigan leadership and dedication to making cybersecurity a priority.”  

The expansion of the Michigan Cyber Range, powered by Merit Network, is a critical strategy included in the 2015 Michigan Cyber Initiative, spearheaded by Governor Snyder. As a state-run test program that hones security software and cyber defense skills, the Michigan Cyber Range offers cyber exercises, product testing, digital forensics, and more than 40 professional certifications based on the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) framework.

“The Cyber Range Hubs at Northern Michigan University and University of Michigan Flint will give students and the community access to world class, hands-on cybersecurity education,” said Dr. Joe Adams, Merit’s vice president for Research and Cyber Security. "Cyber Range Hubs serve as a magnet site for the cybersecurity ecosystem. These partnerships are a great opportunity for Michigan, and I’m sure once open, will have an immediate positive impact on students and the area’s workforce.” 

Since 2015, the Michigan Defense Center/MEDC has provided funding for cyber ranges in Battle Creek, a Macomb Oakland University Incubator in Sterling Heights, Pinckney Community High School, Wayne State University, West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology and at the Detroit Arsenal with U.S. Army TARDEC. These Hubs serve as centers for the cyber ecosystem within their communities.   

“Michigan is focused on creating innovative solutions to prevent and respond to cyber threats, including building a holistic ‘cyber ecosystem’ in which both the public and private sectors work collaboratively,” said Sarah Tennant, strategic advisory in cyber initiatives at the MEDC. “These new hubs will continue the development of a robust cybersecurity community focused on connecting the interests of the cyber, automotive, defense and aerospace industries.”  


Northern Michigan University, located in historic Marquette, Michigan, is a dynamic, public university known for its undergraduate research opportunities, award-winning leadership programs, and cutting-edge technology initiatives. NMU has about 7,700 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 177 academic programs ranging from one-year certificates to the doctorate degree. 


Part of the world-renowned University of Michigan, the University of Michigan-Flint is a regional comprehensive university located in the heart of Flint, Michigan. Producing more than 45,000 graduates since 1956, UM-Flint offers a vibrant and diverse learning community consistently recognized for its academic distinction, unique program offerings and superb value. Named as one of the “Best in the Midwest” by the Princeton Review for 16 consecutive years, UM-Flint offers more than 120 undergraduate and 30 graduate programs, including its new Bachelor of Science in Green Chemistry—the first multidisciplinary degree program of its kind in the U.S. With a 13:1 faculty-student ratio and flexible, personalized coursework enhanced by hands-on, engaged learning opportunities, UM-Flint students graduate ready to lead and succeed in all situations. 


Merit Network is a non-profit, Member-owned organization governed by Michigan’s public universities. Founded in 1966, Merit owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network in addition to the Michigan Cyber Range. After 50 years of innovation, Merit continues to provide high-performance services to the educational communities in Michigan and beyond.


The Michigan Defense Center is an operation of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation focused on the support, protection and growth of Michigan’s defense and homeland security missions and the Michigan businesses that support our nation’s security and our military’s safety. The Michigan Defense Center is the State of Michigan’s lead voice on the defense and homeland security economy and guides the state’s policies and programs to protect and grow this important sector of the economy.  

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.