Cecil College, MEA support healthcare pathways

Published on February 13, 2023

Maryland Education Alliance logo.

NORTH EAST, Md. – Cecil College has joined six other Maryland community colleges to form the Maryland Education Alliance (MEA) to further boost students’ opportunities to earn associate degrees or certificates in the healthcare disciplines across the state.

The MEA is an innovative collaboration that creates a clear, seamless pathway for students to move from one community college to another and decreases the need to run highly specialized, costly, and sometimes low-enrolled programs at several locations. The alliance also creates opportunities for community colleges to share resources and expertise, meet community needs and generate cost savings that can be passed on to students.

Joining Cecil College in the alliance are Anne Arundel Community College, Carroll Community College,Chesapeake College, College of Southern Maryland, Harford Community College and Prince George’s Community College (PGCC). These seven community colleges serve ten counties in eastern, southern and central Maryland.

Through the MEA agreement, students complete their initial coursework at their home institution, such as general education, before transferring to the receiving community college for the specialized discipline coursework. For healthcare programs, the home college would help develop agreements for students to complete their clinical requirements at a local healthcare facility. For some other programs, students can take a course at another community college and seamlessly transfer it back to their home institution to facilitate quicker completion of degrees.

For instance, Cecil College currently offers its students the opportunity to transfer to the following programs: Public Health, Massage Therapy, Nuclear Medicine Technology, and Respiratory Therapy. This statewide collaboration expands opportunities for sharing resources between the seven participating community colleges in order to increase student access to programs and meet workforce needs in the county and region. For more information, visit www.cecil.edu/mea.

“I am excited about the opportunities the Maryland Education Alliance (MEA) provides for our students, while also supporting our local and regional workforce needs. This unique collaboration expands educational and career pathways for our students, providing options for education and careers that otherwise may not have been available in our county, in a cost-effective way. The MEA is exploring additional options and will continue to increase programs offered through this collaboration,” said Vice President of Academics Dr. Christy Dryer.

Representatives from each participating community college will serve as the governing body to meet annually to discuss issues, maintain smooth transitions and open communication. As the MEA expands academic program opportunities, other Maryland community colleges can join to benefit their students as individual institutions can choose which programs to offer.

With the creation of an umbrella agreement, providing the collaboration parameters, each academic program shared under the MEA will be considered a specific articulation agreement between the institutions. These collaborations will have a signed addendum by participating institutions, creating flexibility related to each program’s curriculum requirements. Plans are underway to expand with similar opportunities in additional disciplines including drone operation and construction management.

The innovation and resource-sharing of this “students first” alliance create the synergy, access, and pathways to rapidly expand Maryland and regional residents’ opportunities to further their education and careers for a better tomorrow.