With April being Community College Awareness Month, those at Carroll Community College — including Steven Wantz, the executive director of institutional advancement — are working to promote and celebrate an institution working to make a difference in the county.
Wantz, a native of Carroll County has been the executive director of institutional advancement at the college and of the Carroll Community College Foundation for more than 16 years. Prior to that, he had a 26-year career at Union National Bank and Westminster Union Bank, he said via email. Wantz lives with his wife, Renee, in Westminster and they have five children and six grandchildren.
"Banking was a childhood dream for me. After serving an internship for Union National Bank, not only was I offered a full-time job my bank president counseled me on getting a college degree and encouraged me to start that education at Carroll, which I did," he said. "In 2002, I made the decision to step into a new career where I could make a difference in people's lives and knowing that Carroll had given me a strong education and start to a successful career, it was a perfect fit for my family and me. The rest as they say is history."
The Carroll Community College Board of Trustees approved a $2 per credit, or 1.5 percent, increase in tuition for next year, an increase that matches what was approved last year, and one that is lower than that of previous years.
A: As executive director of the college's non-profit foundation, I am part of the Maryland Community College Fundraising Professionals affinity group along with my peers from the other 15 community colleges in Maryland. We developed this campaign to raise awareness of the significant benefits of community colleges, the impact that our colleges have in the lives of our students and the impact that we have on our communities as a whole. The campaign focuses on 16 facts about community colleges in Maryland that articulate the difference we make to individuals and businesses in our communities. For example, community colleges are the largest single workforce trainer in Maryland. I encourage everyone to take our trivia challenge at www.carrollcc.edu/mdsweet16. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what you learn.
Q: Why is this month, and this campaign, important to Carroll Community College?
A: April is National Community College Awareness Month so it makes perfect sense to spread the word about how Carroll Community College is strongly positioned to meet the increasing needs of our community. Carroll citizens deserve high quality programs that will make them competitive in the rapidly changing job market. Since becoming an independent college in 1993, we have helped shape the lives of over 130,000 people. Carroll Community College is a unique and special place. Our primary role is to educate the whole person for a lifetime. We embrace people at any point in their life and work hard to assist them in achieving their educational goals.
Q: What does Carroll Community College have to offer to the county?
A: Carroll Community College is focused on delivering high-quality education through a wide variety of channels at a reasonable cost. We offer both academic and career programs. Dr. [James] Ball's vision is the have the college be a high-impact partner in workforce and economic development. We work closely with the business community to align instructional pathways with employer needs.
Q: How has the role of community college changed over the years? Can you talk to me about some of the changes and trends?
A: The first community colleges were primarily focused on providing the first two years of the bachelor's degree. They were often called "junior colleges" because they prepared students to transfer to senior institutions. While this remains an essential part of the community college mission — over half of Carroll's students say their goal is to earn the baccalaureate — the role of community colleges has grown. Community colleges play a significant role in local business and economic development. Workforce training, both through credit programs and noncredit career-entry and continuing professional education, is paramount. Preparing students, young and old, for professional licensure, industry certifications and career change or advancement is at the center of what Carroll Community College provides for the community. Our Miller Resources for Entrepreneurs helps business start-ups and small businesses to grow and succeed, and Advantage C provides customized corporate training to support firms in all industries in Carroll County.