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Cybersecurity center will be housed at Springfield Union Station

The construction of a cybersecurity center in Union Station means that 80 percent of the building is now rented, according to the Springfield Redevelopment Authority
Paul Tuthill
The construction of a cybersecurity center in Union Station means that 80 percent of the building is now rented, according to the Springfield Redevelopment Authority

Facility will provide resources for Massachusetts municipalities, training for college students

A collaborative hub to address cybersecurity challenges that arise in western Massachusetts will be set up in Springfield.

A cybersecurity operations center that is expected to open in early 2024 at Springfield’s Union Station will provide threat monitoring and other services for municipalities, small businesses, and nonprofits.

Congressman Richard Neal, the Springfield Democrat who represents the state’s First District in the U.S. House of Representatives, announced on Monday $1.5 million for the new cybersecurity center.

“Cybersecurity is a big deal now everywhere,” he said.

The funds will also pay to develop a cyber range – a laboratory that mirrors real-world IT environments to provide training opportunities.

“We’re going to make sure that the students that come out of our local colleges are well prepared for what I think is the next international threat, and lets be frank about it, it comes from Russia and China,” Neal said.

Springfield Technical Community College will operate and staff the center, said STCC President John Cook.

“Given the high value and high demand needs of cybersecurity, this center could not be a better fit for our college,” Cook said.

While STCC is leading in the development of the facility a number of other area higher education institutions are involved including Bay Path University, UMass Amherst, Western New England University, and Elms College.

Mary Kaselouskas, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at STCC, said the cyber range will provide students with training toward careers in IT and cybersecurity as well as digital forensics and criminal justice.

She said the cyber range will provide “live-fire attacks, blue team-red team events, training modules, labs, and assessement.”

Massachusetts is contributing $1.4 million toward the development of the center. Stephanie Helm, Director of the MassCyberCenter, said the investment will pay dividends for municipalities that need to safeguard their digital data from being hacked and held for ransom.

“We’re going to have young talent at the other end of the telephone helping our towns to monitor their networks and give them advise,” Helm said.

The city of Springfield is putting $500,000 into the project announced Mayor Domenic Sarno.

“To have this infusion of money coming to Union Station that not only creates a good four letter word –jobs – but to also be at the cutting edge to keep everyone of us safe and sound,” he said.

Over the next year, the center will be built out in 6,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor of Union Station. The proposed facility will have classrooms, work stations, offices for staff and faculty, and a conference room for up to 60 people.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.