Training center on technology targets adults

September 19, 1994|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,Sun Staff Writer

Howard Community College opened its Business and Technology Training Center in the Columbia Gateway Business Park on Friday -- a move administrators hope will lure adult workers seeking to improve their skills or gain new ones.

"We want to position ourselves for training people who need new skills to compete in the global work force," said Carol Shupe Keyser, the college's corporate training services director.

The new center's location is considered ideal for tapping an adult education market. About 5,000 people work in the Gateway Business Park area.

Ms. Keyser said the center will not be advertised exclusively to the corporate world.

"We will market it to individuals and to companies. We want to build on the base of students we already have at the college," she said.

Administrators expect about 3,000 people to enroll annually in training courses and seminars at the center.

The center has plenty of competition from private firms and other colleges in the region, particularly for computer training courses.

Community college officials hope that the center's proximity to worker hubs, such as Columbia Gateway, and low tuition will attract students.

Their research found a need for affordable training in business management and technology, they said. Most of the center's initial courses -- all offered as continuing education courses -- are in the area of computer training. They include training in advanced computer applications such as UNIX, Oracle and C, and more general applications, such as Windows, DOS and desktop publishing.

The center is offering several topical business management courses and seminars geared to executives, including courses on managing change in the workplace.

The Business and Technology Center also has been authorized to offer what are known as the Drake tests, which must be taken to gain certification in technical skills from radon testing to operating Novell software.

"Our focus will be on emerging technologies and on change in the workplace," Ms. Keyser said.

Not all of the courses offered at the center are new. Many have been available at the college's main campus in Columbia and at its Hickory Ridge annex. With the new center complete, instruction of all computer courses will shift to the Business and Technology Center, Ms. Keyser said.

Administrators said they believe an edge the center will offer students is state-of-the-art instructional equipment.

Instructional labs are equipped with what are known as Nova desks in which computer screens are in a bay inside a desk and covered with glare resistant glass.

The $500,000 center is on the bottom floor of the three-story office building on Gateway Drive that Howard County government bought at auction last year.

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