This story was updated at noon on Nov. 4, 2022, to clarify information about Montgomery College’s training centers.
County and public school officials joined Montgomery College leaders on Wednesday at the site of the community college’s new East County Education Center in Silver Spring to announce that the center is expected to open in the fall of 2023.
“The community, as we know, has long advocated for the role for Montgomery County to have a role in the east county in order to advance the quality of life here and our local community,” Montgomery College President Jermaine F. Williams said. “We are all committed to providing easy access to post-secondary education for local high school students and to enhancing the health care talent pipeline.”
The 55,000-square-foot education center at 2221 Broadbirch Drive will join the other Montgomery College campuses, located in Germantown, Rockville and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, and its two training centers in Gaithersburg and Wheaton. The East County Education Center will be the largest of the training centers and nearly four times larger than the Gaithersburg site, according to a press release from the college.
Montgomery College, which already serves over 50,000 students, plans to serve more than 1,000 students at the education center in the first year, offering both credit and noncredit classes. The education center’s programs will include small business/entrepreneurship, cybersecurity, allied healthcare, early childhood education and general education.
The center is expected to benefit students such as Nneka Ndubisi, a second-generation Nigerian American nursing student at Montgomery College.
“Having access to such quality education not only speaks to the value of preparing students for the workforce but it also speaks to the strength and helps the community in which we live and serve,” she told the audience. “Montgomery College East County Education Center will expand its reach to students like myself who are looking for opportunities to make a difference in their lives and I know students in [the] east county who will openly welcome such an opportunity so close to home.”
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said the school will benefit community members as well as its students.
“The county has got a great institution, it needs to be present in all parts of the county,” he said. “High school students over here have to be able to take advantage of the college the way high school students elsewhere in Montgomery County are able to take advantage of Montgomery College. So this opens up opportunities for our high school students when they get out of high school. It sends a message to the community that you matter and that you’re going to get the resources that everybody else is getting.”
Elrich added that Montgomery College understands its connection to the community “probably better than most places in the country” and is “truly a remarkable institution.”
He also mentioned the area may soon be unrecognizable soon once a planned development of 400 townhomes and apartments is built adjacent to the education center.
“Not a bad location if you’re a student going to Montgomery College over here, to get a couple of students who rent a townhouse together across the street from the school,” he said.
County Council Member Nancy Navarro addressed the role that racial disparities have played in the development of the east county.
“We know our high schools have a hard time finding internships for the students because we don’t have a lot of job centers in the east county. We know this is an area that is home to a very large continental African community,” she said. “When I ran in 2009, 40% of the Black people in Montgomery County lived in this part of the county, the east county. Low and behold we could see all the disparities, but slowly we’ve been addressing them. This is going to make such a difference to all those families, it’s going to shift this issue to economic sufficiency.”
Council President Gabe Albornoz noted that the construction of the education center is another example of Montgomery College ensuring the county is headed towards economic development and social justice.
“At the end of the day [Montgomery College] actually does in fact have a moral compass,” he said. “It demonstrates every day in its work, in announcements like this, that it works to carry out that moral compass, which is bent towards social justice, and its North Star is living by the mantra that we all succeed when we all succeed. And Montgomery County succeeds when Montgomery College succeeds.”