Montgomery College Receives $20,000 in Maryland Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training

18-Feb-2011 | News-Press Release

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley recently announced that the Maryland Workforce Corporation awarded $100,000 in program funds under a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, headquartered in Baltimore, to Montgomery College and four other state community colleges to develop Maryland Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (MI-BEST) programs--an accelerated approach to the instruction of skills training and workplace preparation. This innovative workforce grant is based on the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges' I-BEST model of education, which challenges the conventional notion that basic skills instruction must be completed by students prior to starting college-level courses. MI-BEST's goal is to speed up the rate at which English language learners, who participate in adult education programs, advance to college-level occupational programs; complete credentials of value in the labor market; and move into high-demand jobs offering good wages and opportunities for career advancement. Additional objectives include: • Identifying educational pathway(s) that link to career pathway(s); • Providing traditionally underserved and academically challenged populations with integrated basic and occupational skills to succeed in the workforce; • Giving MI-BEST graduates the opportunity to fill job openings and/or preferential status for next program level; • Transitioning MI-BEST graduates into more college coursework, leading to further certificates and/or degrees; and • Giving local employers access to skilled workers (MI-BEST participants and/or graduates) to fill high-demand jobs paying at least $10 per hour. "As a state committed to job creation and skills training programs, we know the value of competitive workforce. While the I-BEST educational model is a game-changer in terms of preparing adult learners for better paying jobs in a shorter period of time, it's also a boon for Maryland employers in its potential to create a highly trained workforce. We're grateful to the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Maryland Workforce Corporation for bringing this program and additional programs funds to Maryland," noted Governor O'Malley.

The MI-BEST participating community colleges, chosen following a Request for Application (RFA) process in December 2010 and an RFA review meeting in January 2011, include those Maryland community colleges with the highest number of enrolled Adult Basic Education/GED and English as a Second Language (ESL) students. For the first career pathway for this initiative, Montgomery College will implement a noncredit technology program for learners aspiring to be administrative professionals. In Phase 1 of the MI-BEST project, Montgomery College will assign basic skills instructors and noncredit career-technical faculty to work with staff to jointly design and team-teach coursework that will lead to careers or advancement through higher education. Additional phases of the grant will involve Maryland state agencies, including the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. About the Maryland Workforce Corporation The Maryland Workforce Corporation was created under the direction of Governor Martin T. O'Malley and established by the Maryland General Assembly in 2009 to seek, create, fund, and manage innovative, demand-driven workforce development programs that provide Marylanders with the education and skills they need to be successful in today's job market. In addition to its unique role as both a grant-seeking and grant-making institution, MWC serves as Maryland's top resource for program administration and research regarding emerging workforce issues. Known for delivering programs on time and on budget, MWC connects top decision-makers at all levels of government, education, business, and grant-making institutions to create a stronger Maryland workforce and regional economy. For more information, visit or call 410-729-0007.

# # # Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

Date: February 17, 2011 Media Contacts: Marcus Rosano, 240-567-4022; Elizabeth Homan, 240-567-7970

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