DLLR News

 

Anne Arundel Community College Awarded $19.7 Million Grant to Develop Career Pathways in STEM Industries

 

AACC will lead National STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Consortium

ARNOLD, MD (September 28, 2011) – Maryland Labor Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez was on hand this morning when U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis announced that Anne Arundel Community College was awarded a $19.7 million grant to lead the National STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Consortium. The National STEM Consortium is a collaborative of 10 of the nation’s top community colleges in nine states.

“The work being done by Maryland’s community colleges is invaluable for providing workers with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century economy,” said Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, the O’Malley-Brown administration’s point person for economic development and higher education. “With this grant, Anne Arundel Community College will continue Maryland’s leadership in education by directing the development of critical STEM programs to prepare our workforce for the highly-skilled jobs that will drive our economic growth.”

The Consortium is organized to develop nationally portable, certificate-level programs in STEM that meet market-driven occupational demands. The programs developed through the multi-state partnership will help build a national repository of high-quality technical curricula and curricular materials that can be made available at no cost to every community college in the country.

“This is the right investment, at the right time and in the right place. Maryland’s community colleges are job creators and personal trainers for our skilled workforce. Many of the jobs that we’ll create as we come out of this national economic downturn will require more education and more technical skills than the jobs we lost at the height of the recession,” said Secretary Sanchez. “This grant will go a long way to prepare workers for those jobs here in Maryland and across the country. I am proud that our partners at Anne Arundel Community College will lead this national coalition.”

“I commend Anne Arundel Community College President Martha Smith and the entire AACC community for accepting this national responsibility. We must make a firm commitment to STEM if we want to compete in the New Economy,” said interim Secretary of the Maryland Higher Education Commission Dr. Danette G. Howard. “Maryland’s community colleges have long been recognized as innovative, national models and are among the most important reasons we are home to the best-educated and most highly-skilled workforce in the United States.”

Anne Arundel Community College will lead the Consortium. Other member institutions are:

  • Northwest Arkansas Community College;
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville;
  • College of Lake County (Illinois);
  • Ivy Tech Community Colleges – Lafayette, North Central, Northeast, Northwest (Indiana);
  • Macomb Community College (Michigan);
  • Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio);
  • Roane State Community College (Tennessee);
  • Clover Park Technical College (Washington); and
  • South Seattle Community College (Washington).

Maryland’s Workforce Investment System, a partnership of the state’s 12 Workforce Investment Areas (WIA) overseen by the state Labor Department’s Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning, serves as the lynchpin for the collaboration with Maryland’s network of community colleges and has led work to develop demand-driven occupational skills training programs. During FY2010, Maryland community colleges provided occupational skills training for 64 percent of Marylanders who participated in WIA-supported training programs.

The Consortium complements Maryland’s commitment to expanding the state’s skilled workforce. As many as half of the jobs created in the new economy will require more training than a high school diploma but less than a four year degree. However, less than 40 percent of Marylanders have the “middle skills” training necessary to fill many of these jobs. In early 2010, Governor O’Malley launched the Skills2Compete Maryland initiative to expand skills training and continuing education to fill middle-skill jobs. The Initiative is led by Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown and Secretary Sanchez and is administered by the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board – an independent advisory council supported by the state’s Labor Department. As part of the Skills2Compete initiative, Governor O’Malley set an ambitious goal to expand participation in skills training by 20 percent by 2012.

The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation protects and empowers Marylanders by safeguarding workers, protecting consumers, providing a safety net and cultivating a thriving workforce that can meet the demands of Maryland’s dynamic economy. Follow DLLR on Twitter (@MD_DLLR) and Facebook.