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October 1, 2004

Q & A with John Martello, Vice Provost and Executive Director of the Shriver Center, and President/CEO, UMBC Training Centers; and Kent Malwitz, Director of Business Development, UMBC Training Centers

UMBC, a regional leader in workforce development, established UMBC Training Centers, LLC as its noncredit continuing education and industry training company, addressing critical regional employment priorities in areas such as information technology, biotechnology, engineering, professional development, business and allied health.

UMBC Training Centers is currently settling into its new home at techcenter@umbc on the University's South Campus. Insights spoke with the Centers' President/CEO and Director of Business Development--both UMBC alumni--about the Center's mission and campus partnerships.

What is the mission of the UMBC Training Centers?
John Martello: Our mission is to provide high quality, reasonably priced training and certification to both individuals and organizations throughout the region and State. Our focus is non-credit short courses in information technology, biotechnology, engineering, professional development and business, as well as allied health.

Across the nation, universities are being called on to demonstrate how their research and programs benefit the needs of our society. The Training Centers could be UMBC's results-oriented, private sector response to that call.

Kent Malwitz: It's also important to point out that since we are a privately held company, that we are not part of the public subsidy that UMBC receives, so we aren't competing with the rest of the campus for funding.

JM: Kent's point is critical. We receive funding through contracts and Training Centers tuition. Taxpayers aren't subsidizing the Training Centers.

How does UMBC Training Centers respond to the needs of today's workforce?
JM: We provide high quality, short-term, non-credit courses that are focused and outcomes-oriented. Our courses provide skilled training in areas of need. In addition to our outstanding faculty and an excellent facility, we offer affordable prices and convenient schedules.

We attract a broad audience--since there are no entrance requirements (SAT, GRE) we cast a broader net. Our students can also learn more about UMBC, which might lead them to enroll in for-credit courses. The private sector platform also empowers us to move quickly and efficiently—which is an appropriate way to be organized as a for-profit business.

KM: Our courses are designed to meet the needs of working professionals. We can also customize courses for organizations to help them to achieve their specific organizational objectives—and training can be delivered at our facilities or we can go to them. It's very flexible.

How many students are enrolled at UMBC Training Centers?
JM: Annually, we have about 2,000 students, on- and off-site.

Who are some of your clients? How do you work with clients?
JM: Our clients include T. Rowe Price, the Social Security Administration, the FDA, Computer Science Corporation (CSC), the State of Maryland and CareFirst, among others.

KM: We work with organizations to help them determine their professional development needs and to develop and deliver training programs that meet those needs. We also help them to promote Training Centers' programs to their staff.

How do you plan to work with the UMBC community?
JM: We hope to play a key role as training partner for faculty and staff.

For example, this fall—in partnership with UMBC's Human Resources department--we will begin offering short, two to three day courses in business communication, accounting for non-financial managers, supervision and leadership. Staff can use their tuition reimbursement benefit—they pay for courses up front and are reimbursed when they satisfactorily complete the course.

We want to do a needs-assessment for the campus, and are very open to suggestions on how we can help train our outstanding staff. We are working closely with HR to target real needs and welcome any direct feedback from UMBC staff.

Are UMBC students involved with UMBC Training Centers?
JM: We offer test preparation--GRE, LSAT, licensing exams for engineers, among others--to help our students move on to the next level of their academic and professional careers. They can also complement their UMBC degree with additional training in one of our IT certification programs and become even more valuable in the marketplace.

Students can also get hands-on experience through internships in marketing, Web site design, IT, etc. We currently have a UMBC visual arts major on board helping us with several online marketing initiatives. We'll be launching a new Web site this fall.

For more information, visit the UMBC Training Centers Web site.

Posted by dwinds1 at October 1, 2004 12:00 AM