Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) is expanding partnerships with industry organizations, business groups, government agencies and high schools to create pipelines of workers to meet the needs of this region’s economy.
The partnerships, called strategic teaming agreements, are created by “combining employer need and expertise with people interested in working in the industry, [which offer the college the opportunity to] provide the most cost-effective training for the students and college,” as well as for the employers, said Faith Harland-White, dean of the School of Continuing Education and Workforce Development.
One of the newest collaborations is AACC’s partnership with Howard Community College and Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) Chesapeake to offer a noncredit heating, ventilation and air conditioning pre-apprenticeship program. The program will help train people to meet the projected 15% growth for HVAC workers in Howard and Anne Arundel counties by 2022.
Open houses to explain the program, and the nature of the jobs, are scheduled Jan. 7, from 1 to 3 p.m.; and Jan. 19, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the IEC Chesapeake office in Laurel. For details, contact Michele Savage, assistant director of occupational skills, at 410-777-2984.
Charlene Templeton, assistant dean of continuing education at AACC, said the college is having an open house for other workforce training areas to help prospective students understand workforce training options that will prepare students for in-demand careers.
Harland-White said having orientations for noncredit programs is new, but it helps the students see if they are a good match for the job. Students find out about rewards and opportunities in specific careers and what skills are required for a job, such as math needed for veterinarian assistants or casino dealers. They also meet with instructors and staff, one-on-one, and learn about college services and scholarships available to help them meet their educational goals.
The college works in partnership with the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corp., which assists people in finding jobs. Often, people re-entering the workforce need retraining or to update their skills; Harland-White said the college also is teaching soft skills, such as timeliness, dependability, proper attire and what it means to be a good employee.
AACC has more than 80 continuing education certificates in a variety of industries, from child care, teaching and health professions to web design, personal trainer and yoga instructor. To see the list, visit www.aacc.edu/coned.
“There are also many unique credit opportunities available at AACC that provide workers with the skills needed to enter the workforce or start their own business, including certificates in entrepreneurship, business and homeland security,” said Karen Cook, dean of the School of Business and Law.
Picking a Program
Some students want to earn a certificate, while others prefer to start their own business, rather than work for a company. AACC’s Entrepreneurial Studies Institute (ESI) in the School of Business and Law offers students courses in what they need to start a business and keep it growing. The program began more than 10 years ago with a $100,000 donation from the late Philip Ratcliffe, an entrepreneur, to provide scholarships for students who wanted to start their own businesses.
The scholarship is expanding to include students who are not ESI majors, so that a student could learn how to run a successful business in any field, from home health care to photography to accounting. The scholarship also can help current small business owners or people interested in an internship.
The submission deadline for the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Entrepreneurial Studies Scholarship is Feb. 17. For information about AACC’s ESI program or the scholarship, e-mail [email protected] or call 410-777-2066.
A Dual Degree
For students who are uncertain if college is right for them, AACC reaches into the high schools with some of Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ signature programs, such as tourism, homeland security, the arts and transportation. One signature program that is about to present its first graduates is the International Trade, Transportation and Tourism (IT3) signature program at North County High School.
Kipp Snow, an instructional specialist in the School of Business and Law who manages AACC’s Transportation, Logistics and Cargo Security program, said the high school provides the introduction to the program during students’ freshman and sophomore years, and the college teaches courses required for AACC’s credit certificate in Transportation, Logistics and Cargo Security to juniors and seniors. By the end of their senior year, not only will they earn their high school diploma, but they also can walk across AACC’s stage to receive a college certificate. This year, the first students to enter the program four years ago will complete the certificate.
“When I explained they’d earn a college certificate, too, that sent their excitement up the pike,” Snow said. “They’ve put up a board outside the classroom with a countdown to their graduation from college.”
Snow says the program benefits both the college’s business partners who get qualified workers, and the students, giving them skills for jobs that earn $14–$17 an hour in a growing industry. Many can work in those entry-level jobs while continuing to go to college to advance in their chosen field.
The North County program is growing as word spreads about the opportunities its graduates have, so the high school is restructuring it so that students can enter after the first year. As BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, the Port of Baltimore and all related logistics jobs expand, the need for a continuing pipeline of new workers will increase, Snow said.
Another growing credit program that deals with transportation concerns the security training given to Transportation Security Agents (TSAs) by AACC’s Homeland Security and Criminal Justice Institute in the School of Business and Law. Tyrone Powers, director of the institute and professor of homeland security, said AACC has helped with TSA training for some time. What’s new is its more robust online presence that allows TSAs at more than 500 airports nationwide to have access to this training.
Powers said the college met at TSA headquarters and surveyed what the administrators and agents thought would be the most beneficial, both academically and practically. Some courses they wanted included “History of the Middle East,” “Survey of Weapons of Mass Destruction,” “Introduction to Homeland Security,” “Terrorism/Counterterrorism” and “National Security Law.” His instructors, many of whom are still in the field, constantly update those courses so the agents receive the latest information on threats and concealed weaponry.
He’s also assigned a career coach, so anyone in the field who has an issue has an immediate contact who can provide assistance. This spring, the college is expanding courses to the TSA to include the future of homeland security to help provide them tools to anticipate the potential terrorists’ next steps.
The program has gone so well that the Maryland Transit Administration has contacted the college to talk about helping its staff recognize people who have intent to do harm, such as people carrying a bomb or other weapons of mass destruction.
“Helping agencies recognize U.S. citizens who have been radicalized is one type of training that is only going to grow,” Powers said. “We have new cases, new situations. All our courses have a cyber element, and most involve some intelligence analytics.”
The TSA program is one example of collaboration with an outside employer. AACC offers contract training for employers who want to train or upgrade their workers’ skills. Visit www.aacc.edu/cws for more information.