Howard Community College has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the American Association of Community Colleges, Dell Technologies and Intel as part of the Artificial Intelligence Incubator Network Initiative. The funds will go toward building a virtual AI incubator to provide students and local businesses with greater access to AI computing power, tools and resources.

Fifteen colleges were selected based on criteria determined by AACC, Dell and Intel. HCC proposed a two-part approach in serving the community through the AI Incubator Network grant. First, HCC, in partnership with Mind Over Machines, will teach AI through a noncredit workforce development program and certification courses to support businesses’ automation transition.

Next, the college will recruit from the college’s Women in Technology Club to complete an AI project and upper-level courses as specialized electives for a degree in computer science. The plan would be to eventually develop an associate degree in AI and machine learning.

“With the Artificial Intelligence Incubator Network grant, HCC will take the lead in creating innovative workforce solutions to address the regional AI workforce needs,” said Minah Woo, associate vice president of workforce development and continuing education for the college. “Through the AI Incubator at HCC, we will provide workforce development certification courses focusing on low code and no code development to support businesses’ automation transition and work with local businesses to embrace Industry 4.0 through automation.”

According to JobsEQ report, total employment for occupations linked to AI in Maryland was 35,848, as noted in the most recent labor data available. During the past three years, occupations linked to AI added 3,247 jobs in the region and are expected to continue to grow. Current projections estimate needing more than 24,000 newly trained workers over the next seven years.

In addition, Howard County was the second largest in 2021 among Maryland counties with employment linked to AI in 2021.