$29.4 million Regional Workforce Development Center proposed at HCC

A $29.4 million Regional Workforce Development Center is being proposed for the campus of Harford Community College.

The facility, still in its infancy, would house all career and technical education programs under one roof, college administrators told members of the HCC Board of Trustees at their meeting Tuesday evening. Design of the proposed Regional Workforce Development Center would start at the beginning of the 2015-2016 fiscal year, and the building would be ready to be occupied during the 2017-2018 fiscal year, according to college officials.

It would be built along the western side of Thomas Run Road. Rick Johnson, vice president for finance and operations, said the facility could help create a "nice flow" along the road from Harford Technical High School to the community college to the Towson Building, which is under construction, and will provide space for Harford and Cecil County residents to take Towson University classes.

"We are now at the point of preparing the documentation that would be submitted to MHEC (Maryland Higher Education Commission) in order for us to get in line for state design funds," Vice President for Academic Affairs Annette Haggray told board members.

Haggray noted the name of the facility had been changed from the proposed Apprenticeship and Trades Building to reflect the college's desire to create a facility that would serve not only Harford County residents, from high school students interested in learning a trade to workers who are seeking retraining or additional training, but those who live elsewhere in Central Maryland, southern Pennsylvania and Delaware.

"We will be able to provide the education and the skill set for future employment and we can become the hub where industry and other manufacturers will come to us to train their employees," Zoann Parker, associate vice president for continuing education and training, said.

College officials worked with facility and policy planners Albert Robinson and Richard Watkins on the preparations for the facility.

Robinson is with ACRobinson Enterprises of Baltimore and Watkins is president of Facilities Planning Associates, also of Baltimore. Both men are subcontractors with the Grimm + Parker architectural firm.

"Succinctly, this project is about economic development and how education leads to employment, and how this particular community college can be at the forefront in leading the regional empowerment of economic development throughout the Susquehanna region," Robinson told board members.

Action items

Board members voted 8-0 Tuesday to award a posthumous degree to a student who died last month.

Charles Michael Schuler, who had a 3.10 cumulative grade point average during the spring semester, would have been seven credits shy of completing his associate of arts degree in general studies if he had finished the semester.

Mr. Schuler died March 10.

Golladay said he did not know Mr. Schuler personally but had spoken to his teachers.

"He's very deserving of this, and I think it would be a wonderful thing to do for his family," he said.

The board also voted unanimously to create a program for an associate's degree in applied sciences-paraeducation.

Haggray said students could earn the credential needed to become a paraeducator or inclusion helper in the public school system, assisting classroom teachers.

"This is an applied degree, which means individuals who earn this degree would be able to go to work with that credential as soon as they finish their programs," she said.

Haggray said the college must seek approval from MHEC once the Board of Trustees approved the program.

Carl Henderson, dean of the college's educational and transitional studies division, said the Harford County Board of Education has been supportive of the new program, and that the credential is required to work in classrooms in Title I schools under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

"The school system really prefers the credential," Henderson said.

The board also unanimously approved the transfer of $253,138 within the college's fiscal 2014 budget to cover higher-than expected snow removal costs for the campus.

Johnson said the board had approved a similar transfer following the snowstorms of the winter of 2010, storms known to Maryland residents as "Snowmageddon."

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