State-of-the-art training center introduced in Edgewood will offer free vocational training to unemployed and underemployed

Nov. 12 — The Leading Edge Training Center in Edgewood opened Friday morning and will provide education opportunities at low or no cost to residents seeking career advancement, officials said.

Located at the Boys & Girls Club of Harford and Cecil Counties, the center will offer vocational training ranging from welding to warehousing and operation of equipment to entrepreneurship.

Harford Community College president Theresa B. Felder and County Director Barry Glassman were among those who gave the opening remarks at the center ribbon cutting event on Friday.

“This is the culmination of a few years of working, listening to the community and identifying needs, and coming together as a community to meet those needs,” Felder told the crowd.

Despite the rainy weather, Glassman said: “The sun has to come back in the afternoon, and it will certainly shine over Edgewood and Harford County when this center begins to exist. “

Glassman also noted that Harford Community College is viewed as a “hub” and the hub of the county’s workforce development. The college, he said, is a partner “… not only in economic development, but also in providing opportunities for people to go to school who may not be able to afford a. four-year college from the start, those older people returning to continue education or those who expand their opportunities.

The initial welcome was followed by tours of the new facilities and demonstrations of equipment including welding, heavy machining and driving simulators, as well as 3D printers. Participants could also visit the maker space and classrooms where entrepreneurship training and business acceleration programs will take place.

Felder told The Aegis that one thing that makes her excited about the Leading Edge Training Center is that it is the product of a collaboration between multiple agencies.

“It’s our business community; they are not-for-profit agencies; they are community agencies like the Boys & Girls Club. It’s our non-profit agencies like the Ratcliffe Foundation, ”Felder said.

She said the college has conducted a feasibility study to determine the main problems the community faces in pursuing higher education and that this center will tackle many of them. Topping the list was the ability of residents of southeast Harford County to physically access the Harford Community College campus.

“To be able to connect those who are unemployed or underemployed with companies that need workers… we can make that connection by providing training. So it’s very, very exciting. We solve a problem by having this training center here, ”Felder said.

Programs include certification in heavy equipment operations, welding, machining and forklift certifications. Warehousing, supply chain and logistics training will also be offered, along with pre-apprenticeship programs in electrical and HVAC.

The courses offered, along with many of the individual tools needed to complete them, will be free to those who register, funded by a grant from the Philip E. and Carol R. Ratcliffe Foundation, a philanthropic organization that focuses on initiatives based on entrepreneurship.

Registration for new students begins in January.

Milton S. Rodgers