(December 15, 2009) - Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown announced earlier today that Hagerstown Community College (HCC) received one of 12 BRAC Higher Education grants. The grant, made available through legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly (the Higher Education Investment Fund) in 2008, will help HCC develop the InnovaBio-MD program, which is an innovative internship program in collaboration with Fort Detrick research agencies, engaging students in actual research projects on the HCC campus.
“I applaud Hagerstown Community College and the ten other institutions of higher education on their successful grant application. It is only through our partnerships that Maryland will reap every benefit of BRAC,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “Governor O’Malley and I have set clear priorities that put an emphasis on job creation and we wholly understand that our strong network of public, independent and community colleges play an important role in reach our ambitious goals.”
InnovaBio-MD is a state-of-the-art biotechnology research program housed in two laboratories in the Technical Innovation Center on the HCC campus. The initiative is modeled after a highly successful program at Salt Lake Community College and trains students for technician positions in biotechnology industry or research. Start-up funding for InnovaBio-MD came from a 2009 BRAC grant which in part supported a part-time Director who contracted projects from Ft. Detrick and piloted the internship program with students in the fall semester. Equipment for the facility was funded as part of a three-year National Science Foundation grant. This 2010 BRAC grant will fund materials and reagents for student use associated with InnovaBio-MD projects. It also supports the implementation of a full-time applied research program in which fifteen students from both the college program and local high schools will work together under the direction of Ricky Ulrich, PhD. In addition, funds will support HCC program interns working off-campus at Ft. Detrick agencies. These students will develop biotechnology skills that are needed for the Ft. Detrick scientific workforce.
The 2005 decisions by the Commission on Base Realignment and Closure will create as many as 60,000 new jobs across Maryland, including jobs in communications, intelligence and other high-skilled fields. To fully grasp the potential of this expanding economy, Governor O’Malley and the General Assembly created the BRAC Subcabinet, which Lt. Governor Brown chairs. In 2008, the General Assembly passed an administration bill that funds the BRAC Higher Education Grant program. This is the second year grants have been awarded to colleges and universities across the state.
Every Maryland institute of higher learning is eligible to apply for the BRAC Higher Education Fund grants, including two- and four-year public or independent colleges or universities, Maryland research institutions, Maryland Regional Higher Education centers, and Maryland private career schools.