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Funding the Future

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey announces $2 million in funding for cyber range

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey sees cyberthreats as one of the most critical economic and privacy issues facing the United States. But Markey is reassured by the steps Bridgewater State University is taking to expand its cybersecurity education. 

“This program is absolutely essential, and it’s both world class and affordable,” he said. 

Markey recently visited campus to announce $2 million in federal funding to support the development of a cyber range at BSU. The sophisticated simulator will enable students and professionals to experience mock ransomware, malware and other attacks.  

The range, which can train 700 people per year, is part of a three-pronged approach to cybersecurity education. BSU is also constructing a security operations center that will help municipalities, nonprofits, companies, and government agencies monitor, detect, and respond to threats. Also, new graduate and undergraduate cybersecurity programs are forthcoming, including a bachelor’s degree set to begin accepting students for fall 2023.  

“These dollars from the federal government transform places like BSU and literally change the trajectory of our ability to serve the people of Massachusetts and especially our students,” said university President Frederick W. Clark Jr., ’83. “These dollars make a difference.” 

Clark led Markey, state Sen. Walter Timilty, and other visiting dignitaries on a tour of the range, which is under construction in the Dana Mohler-Faria Center for Science and Mathematics. 

Soon, rows of computers and large video screens will facilitate hands-on instruction in how to defend against the latest hacking and cyber-attacks.  

Students will gain valuable experience that will prepare them for careers in a growing industry with 20,000 open positions in Massachusetts alone. 

“Bridgewater State University is meeting the moment in order to ensure students are prepared to protect and deliver for our communities,” Markey said. 

The vacancies come as attacks threaten large and small businesses, municipalities, schools and state and federal agencies. In 2021 alone, data breaches affected more than 1.8 million of Massachusetts’ 7 million residents.  

Demand for skilled workers is not going away as technology is an ever-present force in daily life with Americans expected to have 75 billion devices by 2025, Markey said. 

“This is the future, and Bridgewater State University is going to prepare the workforce for that future,” he said.

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