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Cardin visits HCC with job-training check in hand

August 02, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE
  • U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., presents a $1.8 million ceremonial check Monday at Hagerstown Community College. The check represents a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for HCC's alternative energy job-training program.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer,

U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., stopped by Hagerstown Community College on Monday to hand over a ceremonial check for the school's alternative energy job-training program that he said can help the local work force compete for future jobs.

The $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor was announced in June.

If the BP oil spill has taught people anything, it's that America needs to become energy-efficient and expand the use of renewable energy sources, Cardin said.

Such training and jobs also will reduce pollutants in the air and make the nation more competitive in creating alternative-energy jobs, he said during the presentation in the Administration & Student Affairs Building.

Cardin, who is serving his first Senate term, said it is too early to say whether he plans to run for re-election.

After leaving HCC, he was to stop at South Hagerstown High School to attend the Michael G. Callas Memorial New Educators' Reception.

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During his speech at HCC, Cardin joked about his last visit to the campus in August 2009, when he hosted a town hall meeting on proposed changes to the nation's health care system.

"It was kind of noisy back then," Cardin said, noting that Monday's visit was quieter.

During the town hall meeting, attended by about 440 people, Cardin was cheered and jeered. Cardin said Monday that the least he could do was return with a big "check."

The school started receiving the money in July, said Margaret Spivey, HCC's director of technology and computer studies.

Part of the grant will be used to hire a recruitment specialist for the alternative energy program, Spivey said. That person will reach out to the unemployed, the displaced, former members of the military and recent high school graduates.

The grant also will help expand the program by hiring more full-time faculty, adding adjunct teachers and purchasing new equipment.

About 25 students participated in the program this spring and summer. HCC officials expect to have about 675 slots for students in a three-year period.

Those slots include continuing-education offerings that are expected to start this fall and be held on Saturdays, Spivey said. An electrician could learn how to install photovoltaic systems and an HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) technician could learn about geothermal systems, she said.

The program includes an associate degree in alternative energy technology and two certificate offerings -- solar and wind installation and service; and geothermal installation and service -- said Anthony Valente, lead instructor for the industrial technology and energy program.

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