Partnerships are Key for Garrett College's CEWD

Julie Yoder, Garrett College's dean of Continuing Education & Workforce Development, summed up the success of the Beitzel Career Technology Training Center in one word.

"This building is really all about partnerships," said Yoder, who has overseen the launch and ongoing expansion of workforce training in the old Phenix Technologies building in Accident.

Yoder briefed the Garrett College Foundation's President's Circle – a group of the College's most generous donors – on May 15th as part of a semi-annual breakfast meeting. A large percentage of Garrett College's workforce training programs – including paramedic studies, machining, welding, diesel mechanic, and starting this fall culinary arts – take place at the CTTC.

Yoder gave the attendees a brief history of the CTTC and the partnerships that have been critical to its success.

"The County, the Appalachian Regional Commission [ARC], and the Maryland Department of Commerce provided most of the funding to do the initial renovation," said Yoder, noting the CTTC provided the type of facility needed to grow GC's workforce training operation. "We were very limited in what we could do on the McHenry campus from a workforce training perspective."

The renovation took place in multiple phases, including a 2015-16 project that used ARC funding to create a dedicated classroom and simulation lab for paramedic studies. That grant also funded the purchase of SimMan, a cutting-edge simulation manikin.

"The simulation manikin could present symptoms of pretty much anything a paramedic might see," said Yoder.

Another key partner – the Rural Maryland Council – provided 2018 funding for a Class B dump truck and 2019-20 funding for a diesel mechanic program. The grants came through the Council's Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF).

While COVID taxed all of higher education, Yoder said that was a particularly difficult situation for workforce training programs.

"COVID was very challenging for us. Most of the things that we do are really hands-on – and we couldn't be hands-on," observed Yoder.

The silver lining of COVID was the federal COVID relief funding, directed through the Maryland Higher Education Commission, which the College received from 2020 to 2022.

"That funding supported technology upgrades to allow for synchronous instruction, resurfacing the skills lot at the Mountaintop Truck Driving Institute [MTDI], curriculum development, and scholarships," said Yoder.

Yoder noted that Garrett County Government helped reduce costs of the MTDI resurfacing in another display of partnership and collaboration.

"They provided the labor and we paid for the asphalt," said Yoder.

The College also received funding from ARC and FirstEnergy to purchase augmented welders and HVAC simulators, and a grant from the Rural Maryland Economic Development Fund to purchase a pair of CDL simulators, which are housed at MTDI in Grantsville.

Yoder said the College also benefited from the 2023 expansion of the Garrett County Scholarship Program by the Commissioners.

"The expansion extended scholarship opportunities for adult learning via workforce develop and professional development programs," explained Yoder.

Last year, the College entered into a grant partnership with Frostburg State University. The partnership provided funds for GC to establish a Marine Mechanic program, which will launch in December.

The most recent CTTC expansion is in the culinary arts, which will launch this fall in a culinary lab currently under construction.

Yoder summed up the GC partnerships at the CTTC with some impressive figures.

"Over the past six years, Workforce Development has benefited from nearly $1.2 million in grant funding," said Yoder, noting a significant share of the funding was acquired in partnership with the Garrett College Foundation. "That's been transformational for us.

"If the original renovation of the facility, and the Allied Health expansion, are included, there has been about $5.3 million brought in through these partnerships," said Yoder. "These improvements provide our students with access to training, equipment, and experiences that prepare them to succeed in the workforce."

Created 6/14/2024 9:15am
Last Updated 6/21/2024 8:20pm