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Maryland Community Colleges Granted $1M for Cyber Ranges

Funding from the Maryland Department of Commerce will help the state’s community college fill gaps in the cybersecurity workforce with virtual training environments.

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The Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC) received $935,680 from the state Department of Commerce to put cyber ranges in colleges across the state to be used for workforce development in cybersecurity.

According to a news release last week, the new funding will combine with $2 million in federal matching funds allocated to the Cybersecurity Workforce Accelerator program launched earlier this year by MACC, in partnership with the cybersecurity training company BCR Cyber, formerly Baltimore Cyber Range. In addition to cyber ranges — virtual environments that simulate real-world cybersecurity scenarios — the money will cover related staff training, student education and infrastructure updates.

MACC works with 16 community colleges representing hundreds of thousands of students. Its Executive Director Dr. Brad Phillips said the investment will help make Maryland a leader in cybersecurity workforce development.

“This will place Maryland as the first state in the nation to use range technology for workforce development, which will diversify the workforce and accelerate closing the workforce skills gap,” he said in a public statement. “I strongly believe what we are doing should become a model for the nation.”

The news release said the BCR cyber ranges are expected to be delivered to schools in April 2025.

In the cybersecurity industry, a shortage of simulation training has led to a gap in the workforce. According to a Cyber Range Guide published in September 2023 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, cybersecurity simulation training lags behind fields such as aerospace, business or medicine.

BCR Cyber President Michael Spector praised the new private-public partnership as valuable support for a sorely needed workforce.

“Our work with MACC to deploy these additional cyber ranges not only helps meet the critical need to fill more than 30,000 cybersecurity job openings in Maryland, but also creates thousands of potentially life-changing career opportunities for Marylanders,” he said in a public statement.

BCR Cyber has a strong relationship with the private and public sectors both. The news release said it worked with local government programs and colleges over the past five years to provide cybersecurity training and certification to more than 1,000 Maryland residents. It is also the sole company responsible for conducting technical proficiency testing for federal agencies when they use third-party cloud storage. The company has formed partnerships with more than 35 companies and government agencies since it was established in 2017, and those partners will provide input on course content for MACC’s Accelerator program and recruit its students for entry-level cybersecurity jobs.


The Maryland Department of Commerce this week gave out 11 grants for innovation in the technology sector worth a total of $9 million as part of the state’s Build Our Future grant program, which supports technology projects by local governments, educational institutions and private companies.

Two other Maryland higher-ed institutions received grants this round: the University of Maryland, which got $118,600 for quantum technology startup education, and Johns Hopkins, which was awarded $1.25 million for a 12,000 square-foot discovery and manufacturing center for renewable energy.

“These grants will not only help individual businesses grow, but will also help establish tools and resources to support growing industries,” Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said in a public statement.