Six Maryland community colleges have joined forces to form the Maryland Education Alliance (MEA) to further boost students’ opportunities to earn associate degrees or certificates in the health care disciplines across the state.
The MEA is an innovative collaboration that creates a clear, seamless pathway for students to move from one community college to another and decreases the need to run highly specialized, costly, and sometimes low-enrolled programs at several locations. The alliance also creates opportunities for community colleges to share resources and expertise, meet community needs, and generate cost savings that can be passed on to students.
Anne Arundel Community College (AACC), Carroll Community College, Cecil College, Chesapeake College, College of Southern Maryland, Harford Community College and Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) are partners in the alliance.
“This unique collaboration expands educational and career pathways for our students, providing options for education and careers that otherwise may not have been available in our county, in a cost-effective way,” Cecil College Vice President of Academics Christy Dryer said.
Through the MEA agreement, students complete their initial coursework at their home institution before transferring to the receiving community college for the specialized discipline coursework. For health care programs, the home college will help develop agreements for students to complete their clinical requirements at a local health care facility. For other programs, students can take a course at another community college and seamlessly transfer it back to their home institution to facilitate quicker completion of degrees.
For instance, AACC offers students the opportunity to transfer to the massage therapy and public health programs. Cecil College provides students the opportunity to transfer to public health, massage therapy, nuclear medicine technology and respiratory therapy programs. And students can transfer to PGCC for the college’s respiratory therapy and nuclear medicine technology programs.
“The MEA is a wonderful opportunity for students to pursue a career goal that may not be available at their home community college,” said Angela Anderson, dean of Health, Wellness, and Hospitality.
The innovation and resource-sharing of this “students first” alliance create the synergy, access, and pathways to rapidly expand Maryland and regional residents’ opportunities to further their education and careers for a better tomorrow, according to press releases from the colleges. Plans are underway to expand with similar opportunities in additional disciplines.