College has strong partnerships with business, Viniar says
WYE MILLS — Chesapeake College President Dr. Barbara A. Viniar filled in as guest speaker during the Regional Chamber Mixer, hosted by the Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot chambers of commerce in the Caroline Center Thursday, May 19, in place of Md. Sen. Steve Hershey, who was absent due to his father’s death.
“I’m always happy for the opportunity to talk to the business community,” Viniar said.
She briefly described several partnerships currently in place throughout the area:
• In Dorchester County, the college is working on a customized welding program with Cambridge International.
• In Caroline County, the college offers an HVAC program at Colonel Richardson High School, and Tri-Gas and Oil has been sending employees there for training.
• The college is providing leadership training for Easton Utilities in Talbot County and Reeb Millwork Corp. in Queen Anne’s County.
• In Kent County, the college is redesigning the apprenticeship program at Dixon Valve.
One exciting venture coming up is the new P-TECH school, now in the planning stages, Viniar said.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced May 6 that the Upper Eastern Shore — Queen Anne’s, Talbot and Caroline counties in partnership with Chesapeake College — is the recipient of one of four planning grants statewide to support the development of six new Pathways in Technology Early College High schools, commonly known as P-TECH schools.
Through partnerships between schools, community colleges and businesses, PTECH graduates can earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).
“Every child in Maryland deserves access to a worldclass education and P-TECH is a truly innovative approach to improving education in disadvantaged areas. By blending high school, college and workplace experience, P-TECH students will master in-demand skills and employers will benefit from a steady pipeline of skilled professionals,” Hogan said in the statement announcing the grant.
The P-TECH model blends high school, college and work experience. It will involve a lot of internships, Viniar said. “Students will be out in the field learning.”
This year, the Upper Eastern Shore receives $100,000 to plan the school, which will be on the Wye Mills campus, according to Viniar. Providing funding continues, the school is expected to open in the 2017-2018 school year.
This fall, the college will offer programs in agricultural productivity and sustainability, and plans are in the works to offer new trades programs, she added.
She said the college also makes a contribution to attracting new people to the area and keeping them. The No. 1 thing people care about is quality of life; they want to know about health care and about schools, Viniar said.
She gestured out the window to the new Health Professions and Athletics Center, inviting anyone who hadn’t toured the facility to make an appointment to do so. Most of the health care providers in the area have received training through the college, she said.
As for schools, the college has a relationship with high schools in almost every district, offering dual enrollment classes. In fact, this year’s dual enrollment student of the year is receiving an associate’s degree as well as a high school diploma, she said.
Teacher training is done in conjunction with Salisbur y University, and programs are offered in criminal justice and banking, to name just a few.
“We are pround to be your partner,” Viniar said.
Members ot the Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Chambers of Commerce mingle and sample refreshments during the regional mixer at Chesapeake College on May 19.
Hosts for the evening, from left, Talbot Chamber of Commerce President Alan I Silverstein; Queen Anne’s Chamber President Linda Friday; Dr. Paul Brant, a past president of the Dorchester Chamber standing in for President Jeff Hubbard; Caroline Chamber Executive Director Ann Jacobs; and Kent Chamber Executive Director Loretta M. Lodge.
Kim Kratovil, Eastern Shore representative of Sen. Ben Cardin’s office, left, with Chesapeake College President Barbara Viniar at the Regional Chamber Mixer May 19.
Brenda Wooden, Talbot Bank Tred Avon branch manager, left, chats with Ken Eaton, with Andrews, Miller and Associates, during the Regional Chamber Mixer at Chesapeake College May 19.