Rendering of the proposed Workforce Development and Skilled Trades Center at Howard Community College. (Source: Howard Community College)

Howard Community College has received two major gifts totaling $1.2 million to support construction and programming for its Workforce Development & Skilled Trades Center, with groundbreaking scheduled for this fall.

A Columbia family has donated $1 million and Apple Ford Lincoln, of Columbia, committed $200,000 to the project. President of Apple Ford Lincoln, Chip Doetsch, who serves as a member of the WDTC Capital Campaign advisory council, said the gift “will support the building of the 50,000-square-foot facility that will train future professionals in welding, plumbing, HVAC, automotive trades and more.”

The shortage of skilled workers in trades and technical fields is a pressing challenge in today’s economy. According to college leaders, the center will play a pivotal role in addressing this gap by equipping students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in these careers.

“This is a truly historic day for our campus community and for Howard County,” said HCC President Daria Willis. “To have raised more than $42 million in less than six months through proposed funding from our county government, preauthorized funding from the state of Maryland and from community members supporting us in equal fashion is both gratifying and humbling. This community believes in workforce development as an anti-poverty, anti-racism catalyst for success among all residents. We could not be prouder to anchor this county as the premier resource for teaching, learning, training and culture.”

The WDTC will be the second project to break ground in three years at HCC following the 160,000-square-foot Kahlert Foundation Complex, which will open in January. The complex is a hybrid facility that will house the college’s mathematics department, as well as its training and competition facilities for its men’s and women’s basketball programs.

The complex is named for The Kahlert Foundation, which donated $2 million to the college in 2022 ― the largest gift in the history of the college.

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