Howard County was chosen as a Community Host for Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) USA Learning Action Lab for master’s students. Howard County was one of only seven entities across the nation chosen as a field site for this opportunity.

The course is designed as a field study on the subject of “Bridging the American Divides: Work, Community, and Culture.” Howard County officials traveled to MIT on Feb. 12 to kick-off the program and meet with the class. Students working with Howard County officials will visit March 16 -27 to complete their field work.

“What an incredible opportunity for Howard County to open our doors to eager, talented scholars and work together to further our innovation roadmap,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “With the launch of HoCo Dash (Howard County Data and Analytics Statistics Hub) last year, we’re excited to take the next steps to building a ‘smarter’ data-informed, people-driven community and look forward to working with MIT and USA Labs.”

This announcement comes after a year in Howard County marked by creative initiatives designed to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Ball announced HoCo Dash, launched the Innovation Fund providing $225,000 of grants to next-level projects around the community and invested in Columbia Gateway as the launch pad for an innovation Center.

The USA Lab course is designed to foster understanding of the economic, cultural, social and geographic context that defines the American experience as students contribute in concrete ways to community success.