(Oct. 4, 2019) In addition to providing an initial pathway into higher education, Wor-Wic Community College continues to offer learning options to foster workforce development on the Eastern Shore, with plans currently afoot to construct an applied technologies center by the year 2023.
Wor-Wic President Dr. Ray Hoy presented an outline of the plans at the institution during a meeting of the Governor’s Economic Development Committee of Ocean City on Wednesday at the Carousel Hotel on 117th Street.
Hoy said Wor-Wic is a comprehensive community college with about half of attendees making it the first stop before pursuing educational goals at four-year schools.
“That’s about 48 percent of our students who come in with the expectation of getting a transfer,” he said.
Wor-Wic is on par nationally, Hoy said.
“There was a national study that was recently done analyzing college transcripts and 49 percent of all baccalaurean degree recipients attended community college,” he said. “That seems to be a pathway people take.”
The other half of Wor-Wic’s student population is focused on industry-specific continuing education.
“Our vision is to be the leaders … on the lower Eastern Shore by developing a world class workforce by providing excellent education and training,” he said.
Regardless of future educational plans, Hoy said most Wor-Wic alumni remain on the shore.
“Annually we have about 1,000 students and 90 percent of them stay, live and work in our community,” he said.
With training for employment in health care, law enforcement and public safety, Hoy said Wor-Wic has a crucial impact on the community.
“In any number of areas that are important, not just to our economy, but to one another,” he said.
Wor-Wic also works with numerous industries to offer training for carpenters, nursing assistants, welders, hospitality workers and casino dealers.
Hoy also highlighted a partnership with both Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association and the Greater Ocean City, Maryland Chamber of Commerce for hospitality programs and certifications.
“Some are one-day classes or just a few meetings,” he said.
Other options for short-term training include social media marketing, website design, desktop publishing, programing and coding classes.
“These are just a taste of some of the classes that we provide,” he said.
Meeting community health care needs is also a principal goal, Hoy said.
“In the arena of health care, we have a major footprint because not everybody is a physician,” he said. “What we’re doing is preparing all those people [and] technicians who work in the industry.”
Citing the “one to two to seven,” educational support principal, Hoy outlined the role Wor-Wic provides within the community.
“For every one masters/doctorial-trained individual … we need two bachelors-trained people and seven middle-skills trained people,” he said. “We fill those mid-skill jobs.”
Joining the list of specialized training classes, Hoy said Wor-Wic now provides chemical dependency counseling courses.
“Unfortunately an area that is such a need,” he said. “We have the only certified licensed program on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.”
Supporting local government staffing requirements is also a crucial goal, Hoy said.
“We train over 100 police officers a year,” he said.
Serving the educational needs of U.S. military veterans is also a top priority, Hoy said.
“We were selected this past year as a top 10 in the nation veteran friendly institution,” he said. “Our veterans are very important to us.”
Wor-Wic was also awarded a $1.3 million Veterans Upward Bound grant last year.
“We’re helping veterans, it doesn’t matter when they completed their service,” he said. “We want to bring them back and give them a pathway for more success.”
Moving forward, Hoy said Wor-Wic is always looking to partner with business and industry on workforce development.
“You tell us what you need, and we design a program to deliver that to your employees,” he said.
After recently completing a new master plan, Hoy said Wor-Wic is looking to expand its physical footprint.
“We’re in the pipeline for a new building, which is going to be an applied technology center,” he said.
Hoy said design funding for the building project would be included in Gov. Larry Hogan’s budget proposal presented in January.
Design work is slated to begin next July, likely a year-long process, with up to a two-year build schedule to follow, Hoy said.
“We’re probably looking at 2023 before this facility is open but it provides us with additional opportunities for training for the community,” he said.
Reflecting back, Hoy noted his educational accomplishments began at a junior college that spurred continued success.
“The foundational education I received in my two-year college program prepared me for every subsequent degree, and in fact was some of the best education I got,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for people to get their start and transfer on.”