The Region's Nationally Ranked Education Institutions and Training Programs Support Growth
When it comes to higher education, the Greater Baltimore Region has an embarrassment of riches with the number of highly ranked post-secondary institutions located in the region. Within the Region’s seven jurisdictions there are fifteen four-year and seven two-year institutions, providing the education and training necessary for students to pursue career opportunities that are both financially and personally rewarding. The approximately 300,000 students enrolled annually in credit-bearing or non-credit studies in Greater Baltimore’s institutions of higher education are providing the workforce for today and the future, while also building the talent pool needed to support growth in Greater Baltimore’s strategic industry sectors.
The sheer number of institutions serving the Region is impressive, though the excellence of many of their programs is even more significant – particularly in highly-skilled disciplines including STEM, life science research and development, healthcare, and engineering. The number of top ranked and innovative programs are too numerous to list, but include:
- Johns Hopkins has been the nation’s #1 recipient of scientific research funding for years;
- Nine of Maryland’s 16 Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense are located in Greater Baltimore, including four within two-year colleges;
- The region boasts two HBCU’s – Morgan State University and Coppin State University – with nationally ranked programs of study;
- Fifteen of the Region’s 22 post-secondary institutions have degree programs in computer science;
- The University of Maryland School of Nursing’s Graduate degree program in Informatics is the first such program established in the U.S. and is ranked #1 in the country; and
- Morgan State University is ranked #5 among HBCUs in number of undergraduate engineering programs and has four ABET* accredited programs (*Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).
The level of flexibility and nimbleness critical to providing the post-secondary education and training necessary to support growth industries in an ever-changing technological environment has been a hallmark of two-year higher education institutions for several decades. Seven of the state’s 16 two-year colleges are located in Greater Baltimore and, with their long-standing relationships with the private sector, are identifying the skills needed for a diverse array of industry sectors and creating a menu of options for individuals to develop those skills (a list follows below of the Region’s community colleges and their websites). Key to the central role two-year colleges play in training the workforce is their ability to react quickly to the employers who, in turn, must react to the demands of the marketplace in an increasingly competitive and sometimes volatile economy.
While approximately 115,000 students are enrolled annually in the Region’s degree programs, another 200,000 are enrolled in non-degree programs at two-year colleges including continuing education and industry-specific customized training and credential programs. These numbers will likely grow with the increasing awareness of the educational and training opportunities they offer. Several examples of the wide array of programs two-year colleges provide:
- A lower cost of education and training for students when compared to four-year institutions provides access and opportunity, whether a student is just starting out on their higher education path or completing career training. An initiative to facilitate access based on financial need is the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship that can help pay tuition and fees and is available to community college students who meet eligibility requirements, including those participating in non-credit programs. For more information, visit: https://mhec.maryland.gov/preparing/Pages/FinancialAid/ProgramDescriptions/prog_MDCommunityCollegePromiseScholarship.aspx.
- Opportunities for the Region’s high school students to sample and complete college courses while still in high school through dual enrollment programs. The programs allow students to take up to four college courses at a 25-100% reduction in tuition (based on county and need) and explore various programs and career opportunities. For more information go to: https://mdacc.org/programs-training/college-in-high-school/.
- Non-degree certification programs for the Region’s high-demand occupations, particularly at an entry level, such as cybersecurity, Commercial Driver License (CDL) for much-needed truck drivers for the expanding logistics industry, and lab technicians to support the life science industry.
- “Upskilling” customized training for incumbent workers needing to develop or become more proficient in skill areas ranging from basic technology to advanced application of advanced IT concepts such as Artificial Intelligence and application of Big Data. The Maryland WorkSmart program is a collaboration between the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MDACC), the Maryland Department of Commerce and the Maryland Department of Labor to offer businesses a menu of customized relevant workforce training programs. WorkSmart works with the employer to identify or create workforce training models to meet their specific needs by leveraging the strengths of the two-year college network. For more information go to https://mdacc.org/worksmart/.
- Opportunities for workers to advance their education or explore changes in their careers through part-time and evening programs.
Dr. Brad Phillips is the deputy executive director of the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MDACC), an organization that provides a unified voice for advocating on behalf of the State’s 16 two-year colleges and the students they serve. As of July 1, Dr. Phillips will assume the role of executive director upon the retirement of MDACC’s prior chief, Dr. Bernie Sadusky.
“The academic opportunities available within the community colleges play a major role in providing pathways for individual economic stability and a high quality of life and are an integral part of the workforce infrastructure to support business creation, development and growth,” stated Dr. Phillips in a recent conversation with Michele Whelley, president and CEO of EAGB. “Understanding the considerable value that two-year colleges add to the workforce/education ecosystem is increasingly important as jobs go unfilled in industry sectors as diverse as cybersecurity, logistics, healthcare/life sciences and manufacturing.”
The availability of a trained workforce at all skill levels required to fuel the industries that support Greater Baltimore’s economic strength and vitality is key to growing that economy.
“Building the awareness of the excellence of our community colleges among prospective students as well as employers is a primary goal for MDACC,” said Dr. Phillips. “Post-secondary education and training that provide entry into a career-pathway job can be achieved through many of the offerings at a two-year college, for degree and non-degree students.”
The strength of the four-year institutions in the Region is a major asset for attracting talent, capital, and new business to the region. However, the two-year colleges are equally critical in assuring that current and future employers have the trained workforce needed for sustainable economic growth.
Connect with education and workforce today! Click on the links below for more information about the programs at each of the seven two-year colleges serving the Greater Baltimore region:
- Anne Arundel Community College https://www.aacc.edu/
- Baltimore City Community College https://www.bccc.edu/
- Carroll Community College https://www.carrollcc.edu/
- Cecil College https://www.cecil.edu/
- Community College of Baltimore County https://www.ccbcmd.edu/
- Harford Community College https://www.harford.edu/
- Howard Community College https://www.howardcc.edu/
Access the full EAGB May 2021 Region On Point newsletter here.