Classes have been in session for several weeks, but community college officials from Carroll, Howard and Frederick counties gathered in Mount Airy on Oct. 1 with U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski and other officials to officially open of the Mount Airy College Center for Health Care Education.
The center, located at 1902 Back Acre Circle, Mount Airy, is a collaborative effort between the counties designed to create a regional resource to educate health care workers in all three counties. It was created through a partnership among the colleges, with support from a $1 million federal grant.
The center opened this fall, and about 200 students have started training in programs to earn an associate degree or certificate, or pursue a continuing education program.
The facility features 15,750 square feet of academic and support space, which is leased out of a total of 24,000 square feet in the building. Included are three lecture rooms, one computer lab, two allied health labs and two biological science labs.
Student computers and free wireless are available throughout the facility, and the center also houses faculty/staff offices.
"The new health care education center ... is about jobs, jobs, jobs. It's about giving people the tools they need to keep the jobs they have and it's about preparing people who need jobs for jobs that are available in Maryland today," said Mikulski in a press statement. "With these funds, Frederick, Howard and Carroll Community Colleges will train a new pipeline of workers to fill jobs in health care fields that are needed now and will be needed even more in the future."
Carroll Community College President Dr. Faye Pappalardo said it was rewarding to see the work of the three colleges come together into a facility that will produce jobs in fields that have high demand.
"The programs will provide graduates with the skills to sustain life-long careers in the high-demand health care field," Pappalardo said.
The concept of the shared facility originated during the 2008-2009 academic year. The groundbreaking was held in July 2011.
Classes at the center are offered days, evenings and weekends. Residents of Carroll, Frederick or Howard counties are eligible to pay standard, in-county tuition rates for any class at the center, regardless of which is their "home" county.
Course offerings include six degree and certificate programs and more than a dozen short-term training and continuing education courses, on associate subjects such as medical laboratory technology and respiratory care, and non-credit subjects such as medical billing, RN refresher, pharmacy technician work and dental assisting.
For more information about courses and admission, go to http://www.mtairycollegecenter.com.