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September 27, 2012

(Columbia, MD) – U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) will join community college leaders to celebrate the opening of the Mount Airy College Center for Health Care Education on Monday, October 1. The 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting marks a successful, collaborative effort to educate workers to fill health care jobs in the region.

The Center has been created through a partnership among Carroll, Frederick and Howard community colleges. College presidents will join elected officials, students and instructors for a short program, followed by tours and refreshments. The event will be held at 1902 Back Acre Circle in Mt. Airy, Md.

The unique collaboration unites the best health care programs from all three community colleges, helping to reduce a shortage of health care workers in Maryland. With support from a $1 million federal grant in 2010 the community colleges worked together to share resources and open the Center this fall. About 200 students have started their training in high-demand 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. The Center includes 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. The Center also houses faculty/staff offices.

“The new health care education center at Mount Airy College 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 Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee who fought to put funds in the federal checkbook for AHEC. “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. This is a win-win opportunity to help save lives, transform lives and transform communities.”

“Maryland is known nationally and internationally for its outstanding health care, which is also one of our state’s largest growth industries, with more than 55,000 new jobs in the health care field expected to be needed by 2018,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. “This new Mount Airy College Center for Health Care Education is a cooperative effort with Carroll, Frederick and Howard community colleges that will help to train the thousands of Marylanders who will be needed for the health care jobs of the future.”

“The Mount Airy College Center for Health Care Education is a great victory, not just for our students but for all Marylanders.  This Center will play a critical role in establishing and sustaining a pipeline of qualified health care professionals for our state in a time when many communities are facing shortages,” said Congressman Cummings.  “Access to quality healthcare is a matter of life and death, especially for the elderly, the poor and the ill.  I applaud this joint effort of our community colleges and commend the leadership of the college presidents in spearheading this critical work.”

“I am pleased to witness the culmination of much hard work among the colleges to guide the Center towards completion. The programs will provide graduates with the skills to sustain life-long careers in the high-demand health care field,” said Carroll Community College President Dr. Faye Pappalardo.

"The Mount Airy Center is a testimony to what we can achieve when we all work together and share resources," said Frederick Community College President Dr. F.J. Talley. "This facility greatly serves the training needs of students in our region, and it benefits health care providers that desperately need skilled workers."

“Community colleges are known for benefitting students first and foremost,” said Howard Community College President Dr. Kate Hetherington. “In addition to providing a superior education to those pursuing training in critical workforce areas, the facility will serve as a national model to show how colleges and health care providers can collaborate to increase educational opportunities.”

A benefit of the Center is the short commute from all three home campuses. Classes are offered days, evenings, and weekends. Another benefit is that residents of Carroll, Frederick or Howard counties pay the standard, in-county tuition rate for any class at the Center.

The concept of the shared facility originated during the 2008-2009 academic year. The groundbreaking was held in July, 2011. The project developer is Back Acre Holdings, L.L.C.  Ayers Saint Gross architects provided interior space design. The general contractor is TSI Commercial Construction.

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About HCC
Howard Community College (HCC) is a publicly funded two-year community college serving the educational needs of the citizens and employers in Howard County, Maryland since 1970. With its slogan, “You Can Get There from Here,” the college has forged a variety of partnerships to offer career and transfer programs to over 30,000 students annually at its main campus in Columbia, the Ecker Business Training Center, Laurel College Center, and Mount Airy College Center for Health Care Education. Located midway between two major metropolitan areas, Washington DC and Baltimore, MD, Howard Community College is an affordable, community-based institution that has long been recognized for its ability to inspire learning, and the lifelong pursuit of personal and professional goals. Among its many awards is the prestigious U.S. Senate Productivity Award for organizational performance excellence.