Montgomery College Awarded Two Implementation Grant Awards for EARN Maryland Workforce Training Initiative

Business-led initiative’s workforce training programs set to launch

Montgomery College has been awarded two of 28 statewide Implementation grants for collaborative worker training programs in various industries across the state by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR). One grant is for BIOTrain, a Montgomery County Biotechnology Training Partnership, and the other is for MOVE, the Maryland Mid-Western Transportation and Logistics Sector Partnership. Both initiatives are being implemented as part of the Employment and Advancement Right Now (EARN) grant program designed by the State of Maryland to foster industry-driven sector partnerships to increase the quality and quantity of employment by improving workforce training in Maryland.

“Montgomery College is deeply committed to empowering students to change their lives and to enrich the life of our community by working with industry partners to create deeply relevant educational programs,” said Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard, Montgomery College president. “The College stands ready to train the next generation of highly skilled workers in the biotechnology and transportation industries.”

The EARN BIOTrain Partnership award of $120,280 allows the implementation of the plan formulated by the BIOTrain team of industry, government and training partners. As the lead applicant, Montgomery College will orchestrate the development of training modules by BIOTrain industry and academic leaders. The new training initiatives will close skills gaps to enable entry into the industry and advancement for those already in the industry. In addition, BIOTrain will work with Maryland One Stop Career Centers to create career paths for the unemployed and underemployed through connections with recruiters (Aerotek Scientific), employers, and training partners. The BIOTrain partnership includes biotechnology companies Quality Biological, Athena ES, Vaxin Inc., MaxCyte Inc., Aerotek Scientific, EMMES Corporation, Amarex Clinical Trials, BioReliance, the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development and the MdBio Foundation.

The Montgomery College Biotechnology Program trains entry level technical workers with a hands-on, lab based approach that stresses technical excellence and ability to function in a business environment. The partnership and the new Workforce Training Plan will bring new dimensions to biotechnology training in Maryland.

The College’s MOVE initiative, which stands for “Moving Operators; Valuing Employers,” is a one-of-a-kind partnership of more than 30 education, government, community and transportation entities including the College’s main partner, Hagerstown Community College. Montgomery College’s Transportation Safety Institute in Workforce Development & Continuing Education led the MOVE grant proposal. A total of $256,000 will be awarded in grant funds for the partnership that will run June 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016.

The geographic region that stretches from Montgomery College to Hagerstown Community College is now populated by almost 1.4 million people and innumerable businesses that serve this growing population. Furthermore, the region has experienced explosive growth in transit and transportation-trucking. At the same time, the transportation and logistics industry faces a critical shortage of skilled and seasoned employees exacerbated by the expected retirement of thousands of workers over the next five to 10 years.

Montgomery College and Hagerstown Community College will use EARN grant funds to significantly increase their offerings of transit, transportation and logistics programs, primarily focusing on Commercial Truck Driver Licensing (CDL-A and CDL-B) that grow the number of licensed and certified workers available for busing, trucking and logistics employers. The two colleges will provide industry-defined hard skills, soft skills and transportation job readiness programs.

“There is no progress without a job. By awarding the state-funded Implementation Grants to these selected strategic partnerships, we’re moving our state forward and helping more Marylanders get the skills they need to qualify for Maryland’s most in-demand jobs. Working together, we’re ensuring that these EARN Implementation Grants will provide industry-specific, state-of-the-art training for high-demand occupations,” Governor Martin O’Malley said.

The average Implementation Grant award amount is $179,302.

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