Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey has announced award recipients for the 2024 Municipal Cybersecurity Awareness Grant Program, which will provide 78,000 employees from 227 municipalities and public school districts across the state with cybersecurity training to better detect and avoid cyber threats.

“Our administration is committed to partnering with our municipalities to move forward on our shared IT and cybersecurity goals,” said Gov. Healey. “We are thrilled to see so many cities and towns prioritize cyber readiness through the Municipal Cybersecurity Awareness Training Grant Program.”

The program – administered by the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security and its Office of Municipal and School Technology – is designed to support local government efforts to improve overall cyber readiness through comprehensive online end-user training, evaluation, and threat simulation. The governor’s office noted that awarded communities will receive licenses for end-user training, assessment, and phishing simulation procured by the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS).

“In my time as the Commonwealth CIO I’ve had a chance to talk to municipal officials from all over the state,” said Secretary of Technology Services and Security Jason Snyder. “In every discussion, cybersecurity comes up as a top priority. EOTSS is proud to advance the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s priority of supporting municipal cybersecurity readiness. We work best in Massachusetts when state and municipal organizations work together, and this grant program exemplifies this commitment.”

State leaders explained that the program begins with an initial cyber strength assessment to measure baseline cybersecurity awareness. After the assessments, periodic assessments consisting of training modules and simulated phishing email campaigns help participants build good cyber hygiene habits to increase their awareness of deceptive techniques used by bad actors to gain unauthorized access to government systems. At the end of the program, participants complete a final cyber strength assessment to measure their progress.

“Programs like the Municipal Cybersecurity Awareness Grant really move the needle with our municipal workforce, which is where the rubber meets the road on cybersecurity,” said Lt. Gov. Kimberley Driscoll. “This program, provided at no cost to municipalities or employees taking the training, makes clear that cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility, whether we have IT in our job titles or not.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs