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AACC to Lead National Consortium Under New Grant

Sept. 29, 2011

      U. S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis visited Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) Sept. 28 to formally announce that a 10-college consortium led by AACC will receive a $19.7 million Department of Labor grant to provide training for high-demand jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

      “We in this country need to encourage our young people to pursue STEM careers,” Secretary Solis said, calling these jobs a key to economic growth and moving the country forward.

      The grant is part of the department’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative that is providing $500 million to community colleges across the country to develop training in high-demand industries to help put displaced workers back to work. AACC is leading the National STEM Consortium of 10 colleges in nine states.

      AACC President Martha A. Smith, Ph.D., said this grant represents a unique partnership at all levels of government, private industry and educational institutions. She recognized the work of federal, state and local legislators to fund up-to-date facilities and equipment – especially STEM programs – so the college is in the position to be a leader in this new effort.

      “This is exactly how it is supposed to work,” she said. “This grant is unprecedented in my career in the size and scope of grant, the confidence it shows in community colleges and the comprehensive nature of partnership – government at all levels, industry and number of community colleges.”

      The National STEM Consortium will develop one-year certificate programs in five high-wage, high-skill STEM industries: composite materials technology, cyber technology, electric vehicle technology, environmental technology and mechatronics, a multidisciplinary field of engineering ranging from electronic engineering to computer and software engineering.

      “The National STEM Consortium promises to be one of the most significant advancements in American higher education in recent history,” said Stan Jones, president of Complete College America, a national nonprofit which provided technical assistance to the grant winner.

      AACC will help develop programs for two of the five fields, cyber technology and mechatronics. The first group of students is projected to begin training in September 2012, with each new certificate designed to take nine to 12 months to complete.

      The certificate programs target mainly workers who lost their jobs through changes in global manufacturing. A STEM Bridge curriculum will incorporate remedial education into the industry training curricula for those who need to update fundamentals in English or math. Lessons will combine online instruction with face-to-face classroom settings. These certificates will be available for consortium partners and other community colleges across the country.

      "We will help build a national repository of high-quality technical curriculum that can be made available to all of the community colleges in this country.” Smith said.

      In addition to AACC, the NSC colleges are Clover Park Technical College in Washington; College of Lake County in Illinois; Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio; Florida State College at Jacksonville; Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana; Macomb Community College in Michigan; Northwest Arkansas Community College; Roane State Community College in Tennessee; and South Seattle Community College in Washington.

About Anne Arundel Community College
Anne Arundel Community College is an award-winning, fully accredited public two-year institution serving approximately 53,000 students each year through classes offered at more than 100 sites in Anne Arundel County or online. National and regional award-winning studies can lead to a degree, certificate, industry credential, transfer to a four-year institution or career enhancement, personal enrichment and lifelong learning. AACC celebrates its 50th Anniversary beginning this fall.