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The MC President's Blog

December 20, 2010 - Connecting our education to the future workforce needs

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Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the annual retreat for the Board of Advisors for the Universities at Shady Grove. The theme for this year’s retreat was “Connecting our 21st century education to our 21st century workforce needs.” I am proud to serve on this board for several reasons, but foremost is because of the phenomenal intellectual stimulation it provides in discussing relevant postsecondary issues affecting the residents of Montgomery County. 
One such relevant discussion came after a presentation by George Mason University economist Stephen S. Fuller. Dr. Fuller is the director of the Center for Regional Analysis at the School of Public Policy, and he is an expert on employment trends within the Washington metropolitan region. He offered a provocative analysis of the workforce needs for our area over the next 10 years, and I have been left contemplating the implications of the last part of his presentation, which focused on the future job openings in our region. Of particular interest to me was the startling projection that suggested that the educational level needed for the largest number of new jobs—not replacements but new workers—will be in two specific categories: (1) high school or less with on-the-job training (OJT), and (2) bachelor’s degree. Moreover, projected occupations needing high school or less with OJT, post secondary awards (i.e. certificates), or associate’s degrees will more than double compared to the number of occupations that will require a bachelor’s degree or more.
What does this mean? Many of us have articulated for some time that community colleges are the key to the promise of the new economy. We are a central—an essential—component to our nation’s economic recovery, and the data for Montgomery County suggests that we must be actively engaged in any plan for economic and workforce development in our region. Not simply because we provide access to higher education for tens of thousands Montgomery County residents, but because we provide the relevant education for the jobs of the future—careers that, in some cases, may not even exist yet. These are new workers that only we can provide because of our agility and flexibility in providing timely, relevant, industry-driven curriculum for the new economy.
As the College prepares to craft a vision statement and revise our mission statement next semester, I challenge us to be bold in articulating our role in the new economy. I remain convinced that we will be teaching ourselves out of this recession, and Montgomery College is uniquely poised to do just that.

December 17, 2010 - Weekly Video Blog

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In her latest video message, Dr. Pollard enjoys a holiday potluck with the Mannakee staff and delivers encouraging words to the Montgomery College Community as we say goodbye to 2010.

December 10, 2010 - Weekly Video Blog

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In her latest video message, Dr. Pollard visits the School of Art and Design Portfolio Review and Show from the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Arts Center on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus. Every semester, second-year School of Art and Design students have their portfolios reviewed by premier four-year art schools for transfer admission -- and significant scholarships -- to their programs.

In her message, Dr. Pollard also addresses open dialogue between the Board of Trustees and Staff Senate, a soccer all-American, meeting with County Executive Leggett, and the recent breach of private information on the College Web site.

December 9, 2010 - Reflection on The DREAM Act

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I am saddened today to learn that the Senate canceled the vote on The DREAM Act. While a flawed measure in some parts, it provided a substantive path to citizenship for thousands of children brought to this country by their parents in a manner in which they are unable to be recognized as U.S. citizens. Unsure if this measure has a chance in the foreseeable future, I wonder how history will write of this moment. I wonder if we’ll understand what did not happen today.
At this time, I am also thinking about how I might explain this to my son someday. Perhaps, instead, I will just tell him why this legislation was so important by saying the following:
“I want you to grow up in a community where all have the opportunity to go to college without fear because I know the power of higher education. I know what it has done for me and our family, and I know what it will do for you. Just ask your great-grandfather.
I want you to grow up in a community where all have the opportunity to serve our country if they so desire because I know that service through our military is a noble calling. Just ask your grandfather.
I want you to grow up in a country where every child who is here can have the dream—the right—to know that the realities of their parents’ lives do not have to define their future. Just ask your parents.
I want you to grow up in a country where we remember that we were formed by immigrants as a safe haven for all immigrants who want their piece of the American Dream. Just ask those who want to be here.”
He’ll get it.

December 3, 2010 - Weekly Video Blog

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In her latest video message, Dr. Pollard welcomes back the MC community from Thanksgiving break, talks about the College's participation in the Maryland Association of Community College's first-ever summit, and congratulates the Maryland Professor of Year.

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