Harford Program Offers Technical Training to Nontraditional Students

Harford’s Leading Edge Training Center, powered by the Ratcliffe Foundation, educates nontraditional students in technical and heavy equipment operations.

Harford’s Leading Edge Training Center powered by The Ratcliffe Foundation, Spring ’22 Heavy Equipment Operations graduates and instructor

Harford Community Colleges’s Leading Edge Training Center “empowers county residents with knowledge, skills, and abilities to secure careers and earn head-of-household wages that will enhance the quality of life for residents in southeastern Harford County and throughout the region.”

Harford Community College previously partnered with the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation, the Rural Maryland Council, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harford and Cecil Counties, and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to create the Leading Edge Training Center powered by the Ratcliffe Foundation.

The Center includes a:

  • Fabrication lab for additive manufacturing
  • Simulation and lab space for trade skills
  • Collaboration room for innovation
  • Training space for workforce development
  • Maker space, entrepreneurship, and business acceleration programming

Student participants at the Center can learn new skills and be eligible to receive scholarships, stipends, and tool allowances. Programs include stackable workforce credentials in:

  • Heavy equipment operator
  • Welding
  • Machining
  • Forklift certifications
  • Logistics
  • Additive and subtractive manufacturing
  • HVAC and electrical pre-apprenticeship programs

Recently, the spring 2022 Heavy Equipment Operations (HEO) class graduated from the Center, and was the first HEO class to do so. Harford County Living reported on the success and impact of the program and Center:

The HEO program, a series of four classes meeting twice a week, ran for six months from January 18 through June 30, 2022. The classes included instruction on state-of-the-art heavy equipment simulators and actual trade equipment, classroom instruction and related field trips. The program concluded with a round-robin style interview event that resulted in all the students receiving job offers from local businesses.

“The first class to complete Harford’s LETC Heavy Equipment Operations course was a mix of recent high school grads, returning citizens, displaced workers and more. The students were very enthusiastic and dedicated in their certification training, and all but one also took the LETC Forklift Certification Training. I am so proud of this group,” said Monique Stiemke, Career Navigator for Workforce Development at the Leading Edge Training Center.

The Center’s next HEO program will run September 13, 2022-April 13, 2023.

Learn more about the Center and upcoming courses.

Read the full Harford County Living article.

At the 2022 MACo Summer Conference general session, “Too Cool for Traditional School: The Changing Role of Community Colleges and Career and Technical Education,” an esteemed panel of education leaders and policy experts will explore these emerging trends in public education and how local governments can best prepare Marylander’s learners for the modern workforce.

The 2022 MACo Summer Conference will be held at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD from August 17-22. This year’s theme is “Taking Care of Business.” More information can be found on our conference website.