Community Colleges Lead the Way
Maryland’s first community college was established in Hagerstown in 1946 serving a population ready to focus on rebuilding after the trauma of World War II. Soon after, President Truman’s 1947 Commission on Higher Education called for universal access to higher education for all American citizens through the creation of state systems of community colleges. Since that proclamation, Maryland has founded 16 community colleges throughout the state.
|In 2020, “the community college will be the center within its service region for workforce development, full partners with State and local economic development agencies and with other providers of education and training as required by the community.”SOURCE: Maryland Association of Community Colleges “Approaching 2020: A Vision for Maryland’s Community Colleges.”|
According to recent report by the National Skills Coalition, a 3,200-member organization that advocates for public policies that invest in employee education and workforce training, Maryland employers will need to fill more than 434,000 “middle-skill” jobs between now and 2016. The organization defines middle-skill jobs as those that require more than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year college degree – for example, insurance claims adjusters, computer support specialists and healthcare technicians.
Additionally, the goal of creating a technology hub in Harford County along with the needs of highly skilled professionals at APG has presented a window of opportunity that our local community colleges are eager to leverage and an obligation they are preparing to fulfill.
No longer considered a “junior” college or stepchild to a four-year college or university, community colleges are gaining the respect they deserve by producing qualified and skilled graduates ready for immediate employment or transfer. With degree concentrations ranging from traditional subjects like business, accounting and sociology to more specialty studies like agricultural, equestrian and food sciences, community colleges often fill the gaps left from larger universities dedicated to a particular field of study.
Three community colleges in Maryland considered “local” to our I-95 corridor are within a driving distance range of five miles to less than 40 from central Harford County. Each presents a unique choice to its students with articulation agreements and special programs designed to meet the needs and the demand for a skilled, prepared and global workforce.
Harford Community College
In addition to responding to the evolving needs of the residents of heavily rural Harford County with programs like agricultural business, surveying technology, land surveying, and horticulture, HCC has been actively developing programs in conjunction with local employers and the defense community to ensure a workforce ready for their needs. Degree options centered on the STEM subjects, nursing and allied health, education, and computer sciences are a few of the most popular programs for students. To facilitate their transfer to a four-year institution, HCC has articulation agreements in place with several schools, including Johns Hopkins University Management & Leadership, Salisbury University, Morgan State University, UMUC, University of Baltimore and Towson University.
An extremely innovative endeavor of HCC is their effort to bring the four-year institution to Harford County. Through the Higher Education & Conference Center at HEAT, located in Aberdeen, HCC coordinates academic programs with local colleges and universities to provide expanded access to baccalaureate and advanced degrees to students in northeastern Maryland.
For instance, an HCC nursing graduate could enroll directly with the College of Notre Dame of Maryland to complete his or her B.S. in nursing, while taking the required courses at the HEAT center in Aberdeen. By eliminating the barrier of travel and lost time, students have more opportunity to finish their courses or go back and earn an advanced degree while still working.
The main campus of Cecil County’s community college, Cecil College, is located less than 30 miles from Harford County in North East with satellite buildings in Elkton and Bainbridge. Easily accessible via I-95 or Route 40, Cecil College has a variety of associate degrees, certificate programs, licensure courses and workforce development programs to ensure they are meeting their community’s needs and the needs of their local economic development.
Some of the unique programs that Cecil College offers local students include fire science technology, equine studies and yacht design. Perhaps their most distinctive program is the Mid-Atlantic Transportation & Logistics Institute (MATLI).
MATLI is set up to help students prepare for skilled jobs in the transportation and logistics industry, the second-fastest growing employment sector in the United States thanks to the expanding global economies. Students graduating from the MATLI program will be ready for careers in supply chain management, warehousing, materials handling, and import/ export operations to name a few areas.
Cecil College also offers a new aviation program through MATLI. Offered in partnership with the Community College of Baltimore County–Catonsville Campus, students can receive one of three certificates or degrees in aviation management, aviation flight or air traffic control. Most of the classes are taken at the Cecil College campus or Cecil County Airport for added convenience.
Students studying business logistics or supply chain management through MATLI can transfer to the University of Delaware their last two years under an articulation agreement created with input from Aberdeen Proving Ground to ready the local workforce.
For more information on Cecil College visit cecil.edu.
College of Baltimore County-Essex Campus
The Community College of Baltimore (CCBC) has campuses located in Catonsville, Dundalk and Essex. Residents of Harford or Cecil County would find the Essex campus located off Route 40 and the Baltimore Beltway to be the most accessible.
Addressing the needs for middle skill employees and highly skilled employees simultaneously, CCBC–Essex offers an engineering degree and engineering technology degree. The engineering technology curricula is not calculus based; graduating students work in the engineering field but under the direction of an engineer. Graduates of the calculus based engineering degree program will transfer to finish a four-year degree or other advanced degree elsewhere.
Another program designed for students looking for employment after two years is the certificate or A.A.S. degree program in biotechnology. Designed primarily for non-degree seeking students, this program will also assist individuals switching careers or those already in the field seeking advancement. Graduates will be prepared for careers in the health sciences, including basic and pharmaceutical research, production and manufacturing, and quality assurance.
CCBC-Essex features a computer science degree for students who wish to continue their studies at a four-year institution. They currently have transfer agreements in place with Towson University, Johns Hopkins University, Stevenson University, University of Baltimore, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the University of Maryland, University College. Graduates will find work in high demand sectors such as computer science, computer information sciences or information systems management.
Unique to the schools mentioned here is the CCBC-Essex program in world languages. The global economy and defense industry have created an enormous need for employees fluent in languages other than English. CCBC-Essex offers degrees in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian and Spanish.
For more information on the Community College of Baltimore County, visit ccbcmd.edu.
The Higher Education and Conference Center @ HEAT
The Higher Education and Conference Center @ HEAT in Harford County, Maryland, is a unique solution to the absence of a degree granting university in northeastern Maryland. Conveniently located right off I-95, the state-of-the-art facility offers baccalaureate and graduate programs in support of the specific educational needs of the region.
The University of Maryland University College recently joined the growing list of institutions offering programs at HECC@HEAT.
“UMUC is proud to offer on-site instruction at the Higher Education and Conference Center @ HEAT in Aberdeen for students in cybersecurity and human resource management,” says UMUC President Susan C. Aldridge. “This represents a perfect opportunity for UMUC to further its mission of providing access to quality education for adults, and we look forward to joining other fine institutions at HEAT in serving the education needs of Harford County residents and helping manage the increased demand associated with the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) initiative.”
The courses UMUC offers at the HECC@HEAT lead to B.S. degrees in cybersecurity and human resource management. The major in cybersecurity prepares graduates to be leaders in the protection of data assets. The human resource management major provides 21st-century skills and knowledge of human resource functions, including human resource planning; recruitment, selection, placement and orientation of employees; training and career development; labor relations; management of performance appraisal, compensation and benefit programs; and development of personnel policies and procedures.
Harford Community College coordinates the academic programs and maintains the facility. Partnering institutions provide the faculty, establish the requirements of their individual programs, and set their own tuition rates. Students enroll directly with the partnering institutions, which collect all tuition and fees and confer all degrees.
Training is also offered at the Higher Education and Conference Center for businesses, industries and local governments through the Continuing Education and Training Division at Harford Community College.
Some of the programs currently available at HECC@HEAT.
The College of Notre Dame of Maryland
Johns Hopkins University – School of Arts & Sciences
Johns Hopkins University – School of Engineering
Johns Hopkins University – School of Education
Morgan State University
University of Maryland College Park
University of Maryland University College
University of Phoenix