Michigan schools to try automotive cybersecurity curriculum

Governor Rick Snyder joined industry leaders this week at the 2018 SAE CyberAuto Challenge to announce a new high school curriculum focused on automotive cybersecurity training and filling the existing skills gap in the career field of automotive cybersecurity.

Masters of Mobility: Cyber Security on the Road will provide in-depth training for Michigan high school teachers as well as resources and materials that will teach students to program, hack and learn to defend against cyberattacks.

“Offering our high school students hands-on experience in dynamic fields like automotive cybersecurity will be critical to filling the growing demand for talent in key professional trades,” Gov. Snyder said. “This is the type of innovative approach to career training that is at the core of the Marshall Plan for Talent.”

The program coursework was developed by the Square One Education Network and includes ethical considerations, fundamental training in Unix/Linux (the language used to program small computers on cars), CANBUS protocols (how small computers communicate amongst themselves), engine fundamentals, cryptology and more. It also builds on SAE’s 6-8 grade A World in Motion (AWIM) programming. Combined, the programs will help move students through an integrated STEM experience focused on developing Michigan’s automotive cyber-workforce.

“As we continue our work to create the next generation of talent who will make autonomous vehicles mainstream, a vital part of that work will be to address the industry and market needs for cyber security, which is a critical step to achieve safety and consumer trust with the emerging technology,” said Dan DuBois, CEO of Square One Education Network. “As the leader in innovative mobility-related STEM education, we know today’s partnership announcement will help us advance the needed cyber security resources and hands-on curriculum to teachers and students throughout Michigan.”

SAE CyberAuto Challenge is a key partner in the program, with teachers attending this year’s event to interact with some of the world’s top automotive cyber professionals to validate curriculum topics and interact with students, hackers and industry professionals to gain insights on Square One’s materials. High school students in the Masters of Mobility program will also increase their chances to win the down-selection process to participate in future SAE CyberAuto Challenges, which attract teams from across the globe to Michigan each summer.

“SAE is excited to take this next step in moving the students of Michigan forward in partnership with Square One,” said Chris Ciuca, Director of Pre-Professional Education at SAE International, “This partnership allows us all to move faster in servicing the students across the state with programing that builds the future workforce of the state.”

Other partners in the initiative include the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and GRIMM – a leading cybersecurity research and engineering firm that just announced the opening of its new cybersecurity research lab in Sparta – who will leverage the program to identify candidates to fill more than 25 high-skilled, high-paying jobs and internships in Michigan.

“This program will help Michigan secure its place as the epicenter of automotive cybersecurity R&D,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “We are proud to support initiatives like SAE CyberAuto Challenge and the Masters of Mobility program to stay at the forefront of today’s cybersecurity industry.”

The pilot Masters of Mobility program will launch in two schools over the course of 12 weeks in the fall of 2018, with a roll-out to eight additional schools planned for 2019. Schools being considered to launch the program are Oak Park High School, Clinton High School, Wilson Talent Center (Mason) and Hale Area Schools.

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