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Montgomery College Receives Two Grant Awards for EARN Maryland Workforce Training Initiative

The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) recently announced the recipients of 29 planning grants for collaborative worker training programs in various industries across the state. Montgomery College was awarded two of the twenty-nine grants – one for a Montgomery County Biotechnology Training Partnership and the other for the Maryland Mid-Western Transportation and Logistics Sector Partnership.

Both initiatives are planned as a part of the Employment and Advancement Right Now (EARN) grant program designed by the state of Maryland as an industry-driven initiative to increase the quality and quantity of employment by improving workforce training in Maryland.

The Montgomery County Biotechnology Training Partnership award of $19,540 will facilitate planning and development of expanded industry partnerships to include a wider representation of biotechnology companies, staffing companies and training providers in this industry sector.

As the lead applicant, Montgomery College will analyze workforce needs and develop workforce training plans to meet those needs. The new training initiatives will close skills gaps to enable entry into the industry and advancement for those already in the industry. The partnership thus far includes several biotechnology companies including Quality Biological, Athena ES, Vaxin, MaxCyte, Aerotek Scientific, Bioreliance and MDBio as well as the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development. The work effort of the partnership group will be based at the Montgomery College-Germantown Campus with planning efforts and the resultant workforce training plan to be completed during the first quarter of 2014. Dr. Michael Smith, program manager at Montgomery College, will serve as the project director for this initiative.

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.

Montgomery College will also serve as the lead applicant and fiscal agent for a $25,000 EARN planning grant for development of a new sector partnership called Maryland Mid-Western Transportation and Logistics MOVE (Moving Operators; Valuing Employers). This new industry sector partnership is the first of its kind and includes over 30 members including co-convener Hagerstown Community College and the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC); Workforce Investment Boards representing Montgomery and  Baltimore Counties and Western Maryland; employers such as the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Administration, Fleet Transit, D.M. Bowman and Wantz Distributors; community organizations such as the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission and Horizon Goodwill; and the industry association, Maryland Motor Truck Association.

Montgomery College Workforce Development & Continuing Education’s Transportation Safety Institute (TSI), of the College’s Business, Information Technology and Safety unit, operates licensure, certification and safety training programs and courses for motorists who operate cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, boats and bicycles. TSI has administered the Commercial Vehicle Training Program (CVT) for over eight years and has a history of successfully training hundreds of commercial vehicle operators.

Montgomery College, CCBC, and Hagerstown have all fostered successful CVTs with rich industry relationships over several years, and the three colleges are active members of the MCCACET’s Transportation, Trades and Warehousing Affinity Group. Their joint grant initiative officially kicks off on January 23 at the DLLR grant conference with a sprint toward the completion of a Strategic Industry Plans due on March 31, 2014.

Marcy Jackson, program director in the Montgomery College Workforce Development & Continuing Education, and Theresa Shank, dean of continuing education and business services at Hagerstown Community College, will serve as project directors of the MOVE Implementation Grant.

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