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BOSTON – Today, March 8, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the 2022 Municipal Cybersecurity Awareness Grant Program award recipients. 

Administered by the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) and its Office of Municipal and School Technology (OMST), this program will provide over 57,000 employees from 210 municipalities and public school districts across the Commonwealth with critical cybersecurity training to better detect and avoid cyber threats.

The 2022 Municipal Cybersecurity Awareness Grant Program, which is funded by $250,000 in capital IT authorizations from the 2020 General Governmental Bond Bill, is designed to support local government efforts to improve overall cybersecurity posture through comprehensive online end-user training, evaluation and threat simulation.

Awarded communities will receive licenses for end-user training, assessment and phishing simulation procured by the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security. Demonstrated buy-in from the Chief Executive in the community is a requirement of all program participants.

The Town of Natick and Natick Public Schools were among the awardees – a total of 550 employees.

Also the South Middlesex Regional School District – Keefe Tech – was awards an awardee.

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At an event hosted by the City of Haverhill, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined Secretary of Technology Services and Security Curt Wood, legislators and municipal officials from across the Commonwealth to announce this year’s award recipients. The City of Haverhill and the Haverhill Public School District are first-time participants in the program and have been awarded a grant that will see 1,900 city employees receive end-user cybersecurity training.

“Today’s announcement is a good step forward in the Commonwealth’s ability to resist cyber threats,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our administration applauds the local leaders throughout the Commonwealth for participating in this year’s program and ensuring their workforce is equipped with the knowledge for robust cyber defense.”

“Cybersecurity is a growing issue that should not be ignored,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The Municipal Cybersecurity Awareness Grant Program is an important resource for the Commonwealth’s local governments and public schools to address this issue head-on while increasing their cyber threat resiliency.”

“I thank Governor Baker for his leadership on cybersecurity, as executive buy-in is critical to making this issue a ‘kitchen table’ topic,” said Secretary of Technology Services and Security Curt Wood. “I am thrilled at the response to this year’s grant program, with executives from across the Commonwealth’s cities and towns stepping up and making cybersecurity a priority.”

“Congratulations to all the municipalities and school districts who pursued a Municipal Cybersecurity Awareness Grant,” said Senator Barry Finegold, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Advanced Information Technology, the Internet, and Cybersecurity. “In an increasingly digitalized world, ensuring that our online platforms are safe and secure is crucial. That is why I’m grateful for programs like this that ensure our partners in local government have the tools and resources to best protect themselves from disruptive cyber-attacks. Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration for continuing to invest in the Commonwealth’s cyber preparedness.”

“Local governments and school systems here in Massachusetts are experiencing an increasing number of cyber attacks and their best defense is an educated workforce,” said Representative Linda Dean Campbell, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Advanced Information Technology, the Internet, and Cybersecurity. “The Legislature and the Governor are partnering to address this challenge through increased training, a new Legislative Committee, funding for needed technology upgrades and collaboration with the private sector.  Most important, however, is workforce training as provided for through these grants.”

Employee training programs are an important component of a comprehensive security program and the establishment of a culture of cybersecurity,” said Stephanie Helm, Director, MassCyberCenter at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “Congratulations to all the communities who were selected for this program. These new grants will help each of you meet the goals of the Minimum Baseline of Cybersecurity for Municipalities.”

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“Today’s announcement is welcome news to communities, and demonstrates that the state is deeply committed to working with local governments to create resilient and cyber-secure cities and towns in every corner of Massachusetts,” said Massachusetts Municipal Association Executive Director Geoff Beckwith. “Local leaders know that protecting our public IT infrastructure and sensitive data from sophisticated cyberattacks requires a powerful state-local partnership, and we are grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration and the Massachusetts Legislature for providing critical support, resources and assets through the Cybersecurity Awareness Grant Program, which is a model for the rest of the nation.” 

To see the full list of awardees, click here.

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Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.