WYE MILLS — For the first time in the history of Chesapeake College, both of Maryland’s U.S. Congressional senators were present on campus together. The occasion was important. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, presented a check for $1.2 million to Chesapeake College on March 17, toward supporting the school’s Workforce Training Program.
Chesapeake College President Dr. Clifford Coppersmith gratefully accepted the check. He also recognized local county leaders who were present, representing all the Mid-Shore counties that Chesapeake College serves.
The Workforce Training Programs include, particularly, the school’s professional welding certification classes, and the new advanced manufacturing robotics classes, which include 3D printing — a growing need found for local Eastern Shore businesses. The college already has classes for marine services, HVAC, and CDL truck driver licensing, as well as careers in nursing and radiology technician training, to mention just a few.
Coppersmith introduced the two senators, listing the congressional committees both senators serve on to bring benefits to their Maryland constituents. Cardin serves as chairman on the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee which is at the forefront of rebuilding the economy. He is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations, Finance, and Environment & Public Works committees. Cardin is also a “national leader on health care, retirement security, the environment, and fiscal issues while representing Marylanders,” Coppersmith said, “As a bipartisan leader, he listens closely to his constituents.”
Of the donation Cardin said, “These funds are meant to help create jobs. This check is part of our discretionary funds we have to help strengthen services in our state and on the Eastern Shore. We used to say that getting a four year degree was the way to go for future success. We now recognize that having skilled professions where people can earn a good living is also correct and needed in our society.”
Introducing Senator Van Hollen, Coppersmith said, “Through his seat on the Appropriations Committee, he fought to secure this federal funding for our skilled trades programs. He is also a bi-partisan leader who has supported efforts to expand medical research, protect the Chesapeake Bay and to support medical research for childhood cancer and for legislation to assist children with disabilities.”
“Chesapeake College is one of our treasures in Maryland, because it provides you with great opportunities. We’ve known that there are shortages in many skilled professions here in Maryland and across the nation,” spoke Van Hollen. “It has been predicted that in the profession of welding, we will have a shortage of more than 300,000 certified professional welders in the U.S. this year. We know the funds we have provided today will go toward advancing solutions to this shortage.”
The college itself has had a fundraiser that has successfully raised $1M, noted Coppersmith, and received another $1.5M from the state government under former Governor Larry Hogan, before he left office. The school continues to work with new governor Wes Moore to add to the funds provided by Cardin and Van Hollen to go toward the Workforce Training Program, he said.
Coppersmith also thanked the senators for their support of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, that provided assistance to community colleges and its students through the pandemic.
Among those attending the check presentation, were Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Jim Moran. Moran said, “All of our county commissioners have supported this Workforce Training Program at Chesapeake College, but, I want to acknowledge Commissioner Jack Wilson has been the strongest advocate for it over the years. He truly supports this program going forward!”
The senators were provided a first hand look and tour of Chesapeake’s skilled trades facilities, before moving on to other Eastern Shore locations that day.