BALTIMORE– U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski together with U.S. Representative John Delaney (all D-Md.) today announced that the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has awarded an $87,000 federal grant to Allegany College to purchase 15 new dental hygiene units which will improve efficiency for students, reduce expensive repair costs, and help maintain hygiene services offered to the public. The new equipment for Allegany College’s dental hygiene program will improve training for approximately 100 students with 4,000 dental hygiene patients within two years.
“ARC is, once again, supporting the public health and economic health of Western Maryland,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Health Care Subcommittee. “As we celebrate National Pediatric Dental Month, these federal dollars to support better training for Allegany College dental students, will help ensure more Maryland children, and adults, can receive the quality dental care that is so important to overall health. Preventative dental care saves lives and costs less than treating advanced diseases or injuries.”
“This federal funding is a win-win for Allegany County that will help prepare students today for in-demand dental care jobs tomorrow while keeping families healthy,” said Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. “Marylanders in our rural communities need a government on their side so they can access affordable, quality care regardless of their zip code. These funds in the federal checkbook will help Allegany College train a new pipeline of workers to fill jobs in dental health care that are needed now.”
“I grew up the son of a union electrician and education gave me the chance to live the American Dream, start successful companies and create jobs. I want everyone in Maryland to have the same opportunity I had,” Congressman Delaney said. “This federal grant is about two critical things: 1) helping more local residents land a good-paying middle class job and 2) expanding educational opportunities in Allegany County. I am proud to support this grant and will continue to work to make sure that we smartly marshal federal resources to benefit local communities.”
Allegany College will use these federal funds to expand dental career training programs as well as support the growing need of dental hygienists in western Maryland communities. This project will provide students instructional and clinical resources.
The local, state, and national demand for dental services is expected to expand within the decade and employers in Western Maryland have expressed an immediate need for new dental hygienists. The median pay for qualified dental hygienists in Maryland in 2011 was $76,680, indicating that the field can be lucrative for well-trained professionals. Allegany College offers an Associate’s Degree for dental hygienists and approximately 18 students graduate each year and are readily placed in jobs.
ARC is a federal-state partnership that promotes economic development in 13 states throughout the Appalachian region. In 2015, Maryland received $1.3 million in ARC funding. Senators Cardin and Mikulski have been leading supporters of the ARC Commission in the U.S. Senate. Congressman Delaney has been a strong supporter of ARC in the House of Representatives.