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May 4, 2001

UMBC and Comcast Announce Tech Partnership

Comcast announced a technology partnership with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) to provide high-speed networking for the university's for-profit computer training center in a ceremony today attended by Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger.

"This innovative cooperation between Comcast and UMBC is exactly what Baltimore County needs to help meet the still-constant demand for highly skilled, information technology workers," said Ruppersberger. "I am very pleased to see two of Baltimore County's top technology institutions working together to meet this vital economic need."

Ruppersberger joined UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski and Doug Sansom, Comcast Vice President and General Manager for Baltimore Metropolitan Area systems, in a ribbon cutting ceremony and tour of classes in progress at the UMBC Computer Certification Training Center (CCTC) facility in the Windsor Mill business community.

Hrabowski said that the partnership with Comcast is just one example of UMBC's deep commitment to economic development. "Despite the recent economic downturn, the need for skilled employees hasn't gone away," said Hrabowski. "This Center alone trained over 2,500 students for full industry certification last year."

"Comcast is thrilled to partner with the UMBC Computer Certification Training Center to give people in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area an outstanding place to go to receive computer training to enhance job skills," said Sansom. "This training center offers a win-win: it trains students for new jobs and promotions and also fills the employee pool for businesses looking to hire qualified candidates," added Sansom.

Comcast installed high-speed, fiber-optic network lines for the Center's classrooms and plans to train select groups of employees at the Center. The UMBC Center provides industry approved certification training for top computing names like Microsoft and Cisco for both information technology employees working to advance their careers and for job changers seeking new employment in the tech field. Classes are primarily at night and on weekends to meet the schedules of busy professionals.

Doug Kendzierski, President/CEO of the UMBC Center and Associate Vice Provost of UMBC's Division of Professional Education & Training said, "This partnership demonstrates the power of combining a technology service giant and a technology education leader, to not only produce a potent commercial data-comm solution for our students, but to mine the complementary strengths of both organizations."

UMBC Vice Provost Craig Weidemann, a key architect along with Kendzierski of the Center's development, thanked the Center's financial partners for making its innovative, for-profit structure feasible. "The education and training market is increasingly competitive," Weidemann said. "We couldn't have raised the critical working capital to do this right, in state of the art facilities, without the flexibility given us by the UMBC Research Park Corporation, Allegiance Capital, the Abell Foundation, and SunTrust Bank."

"The for-profit structure of the Center doesn't distract UMBC from our mission as a community servant," said Hrabowski. The Center recently co-sponsored the New Beginnings Project, which provided certified computer repair technician training to a group of disenfranchised women from Baltimore City social programs.

According to Kendzierski, the UMBC Center's future plans include gradual expansion throughout the Mid-Atlantic region via satellite operations, online learning, and widespread contract training arrangements with companies and government agencies.

Comcast Cable serves more than 1.5 million customers in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and The District of Columbia. Comcast, whose Mid-Atlantic Division offices are located in White Marsh, Maryland, employs more than 4,000 people in the Mid-Atlantic Division.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Comcast Cable is a division of Comcast Corporation (, a developer, manager and operator of broadband cable networks and provider of programming content. Comcast Cable is the third largest cable company in the United States and provides basic cable, digital cable and high-speed Internet services. Incorporating pending cable transactions, the company's more than 18,000 cable division employees will serve more than 8.4 million customers in six geographic regions.

Posted by dwinds1 at May 4, 2001 12:00 AM