CSM, NAWCAD Sign Partnership Agreement

By Andrea Shiell, County Times

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (Aug. 28, 2008)—College of Southern Maryland President Bradley Gottfried smiled as he stood before a gathering of dignitaries and officers at Patuxent River Naval Air Station on Tuesday, explaining the impetus of the newest partnership between CSM and the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD). “This agreement is all about economic development,” he said, adding that numbers indicated the declining rate of mathematics and engineering majors seeking degrees from colleges in the United States. “We’re trying very diligently to meet the needs of the base…and this program is really going to help that,” he added.

Members of NAWCAD and the CSM Board of Trustees were on-hand to witness the signing of a new educational partnership agreement between the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division and the college, which will allow an extension of current math, science and engineering programs offered at CSM to include internships, part-time work, and classes for students to be held on the base itself, providing students with work experience and exposure as well as jobs after graduation.

NAWCAD Commander Rear Adm. Steven Eastburg commented on the “coupling” of the base and its surrounding community. “What we’re here today to do is affect that coupling,” he said, noting that money was being spent every year to recruit engineers from out-of-state, many of whom moved away after a few years in the area. “We must work closer to home,” he said, adding that the best strategy would be for the base and the community to “grow their own” workers. “The concept is that we identify them early on,” Eastburg explained, adding that STEM initiatives already in place could groom future generations of engineers for jobs in and around the base itself.

Gottfried said that his hope for the partnership would be expanded access to base facilities, base personnel teaching a portion of the college’s engineering classes, and an influx of students from the University of Maryland that could finish their last two years as engineering majors at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center. “80 percent of students educated at community colleges stay in those communities after graduating,” he said, adding that without this type of partnership, fewer and fewer students would learn their trade and come to work locally.

“We have got to do better,” said Eastburg, “and we believe that this strategy of growing our own is critical to our success.”

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