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Maryland Integrated Basic Education Skills Training Helps Students

Release Date: 7/3/2014

Contact: Sylvia Blair
Executive Assistant to the President
Carroll Community College

Maryland Integrated Basic Education Skills Training (MI-BEST) Helps Students At Carroll Community College Prepare for Industry Certification While Pursuing a GED

Westminster, Md., --Nine local residents are about to launch their careers in the field of Information Technology (IT), thanks to a pilot program offered this year by Carroll Community College (Carroll).  In January, 2014, Carroll was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR).

The funding supports pilot programs based on the Maryland Integrated Basic Education Skills Training (MI-BEST) model. This model allows students to work toward obtaining a high school diploma while concurrently preparing for an industry-recognized certification.

Similar programs have run across the country for years. Maryland has piloted projects over the last three years. Carroll's program combines GED instruction with preparation for the A+ certification exam - a credential that leads to an entry-level career in the IT field.

"This model embraces the idea that adults learn best when material is relevant and connected to their interests and passions. It also shortens the time it takes for students to earn multiple credentials," said Becki Maurio, director of Workforce Training and Business Services. "Students are studying to earn their high school diplomas with the core subjects - Reading, Math, Science - contextualized to support the technical content they must master in order to earn A+ certification."

"Developing this program to prepare students to work in the IT sector was logical," according to Matt Day, director of Workforce Training and Business Services. "The career options in the IT field are nearly unlimited, particularly in our region. Students completing this program will be well-positioned to move into a good-paying job with plenty of room for advancement."

Local employers have been involved in the planning and implementation of the program. Employers have recommended content and have spent time in class with students to share details about working in the IT field. As the program wraps up, employers will return for mock interview sessions with students.

Upon completion of classwork, students will participate in a two-week, hands-on internship at Carroll. This will allow them to further develop and apply their technical and customer-service skills.

The participating students are from New Windsor, Westminster, Eldersburg, Finksburg, Owings Mills, Randallstown and Baltimore.

Many of the students selected for this program work, have family commitments, and still manage to attend long classes. They understand the value of this experience and they believe the training will open doors for them. Hayden Bourne is an Owings Mills student who balances many commitments to be a part of this program and said, “I was very excited to be invited to be a part of this class. Throughout the process, I have become more appreciative of the experience and opportunity. I am wiser and more competent to live in a tech-savvy world.”

Henry Siliezar, another student in the program from Westminster, said, “This opportunity is a way to open the first door of success which will lead to so many others.”


Note to the Media: For best response to your inquiries, please call Sylvia Blair at 410-386-8411 or e-mail

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