For Families and Our Community
- Diane Bosser
- Foundation Focus
- July 27, 2022
- News Articles
“Montgomery County is expensive to sustain a basic quality of life. The $9-per-hour pay I was receiving was not sufficient to support my two children, who attend Montgomery County Public Schools, and my wife. I had to find a better way for my family.” – Oluseyi Ilupegu, MI-BEST graduate, Montgomery College Workforce Development and Continuing Education
When Oluseyi Ilupegu moved to the United States from Nigeria, he learned quickly that his on-the- job training was inadequate for him to support a family of four in Montgomery County. He needed formal training and an industry certificate.
Likewise, Christine Kigonya, 46, struggled to support herself and her 11-year-old son on her office coordinator pay. Originally from Uganda, she had a college degree and previous work experience, but neither seemed to open doors to financial security.
Emily Maxwell, a Towson University graduate, earned a bachelor’s degree in community health science with a minor in gerontology, but after graduation she lacked an entry point into a rewarding career.
All three Montgomery County residents turned to Montgomery College’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education (WDCE) programs for training and credentials that accelerated their careers and boosted their self-confidence.
Ilupegu earned an apartment maintenance technician certificate that resulted in a promotion from handyman to building maintenance technician. Kigonya completed a project management certificate program in May; she has already received calls from interested employers. Maxwell participated in a clinical trial project management boot camp that jump-started her career in the pharmaceutical industry.
Each year, nearly 25,000 county residents like Ilupegu, Kigonya, and Maxwell enroll in WDCE programs held online and at various sites across the county—on MC campuses, off-site training facilities, community engagement centers, and via contract at individual business sites. People with limited English- language ability can attend career and personal skills seminars, as well as workshops and short courses.
Paying for programs can be a challenge for many noncredit students who do not have access to federal financial aid. Kigonya, for example, pursued the project management program only when she received a Life Transition Scholarship through the MC Foundation.
“I was so blessed to receive that scholarship,” Kigonya says. “It was divine intervention—I had been trying to find some financial assistance but had honestly given up. Then, a friend told me about the scholarship and who to contact at Montgomery College. … I feel more confident now. I’m psyched to take the next step.”
To make a gift and support students enrolled in technical education programs, please visit montgomerycollege.edu/onlinegiving and select “Workforce Development and Continuing Education” from the Scholarships drop-down menu.
Dean Creates Lasting Legacy for Trade Students
Supporting technical education students has been Ed Roberts’ avocation at Montgomery College for more than 30 years.
As an instructional dean, Roberts has taught and overseen programs in the Gudelsky Institute for Technical Education at the Rockville Campus. He also has contributed financial support to the Montgomery College Foundation through the planned giving options for College employees to contribute to student scholarships.
Recently, Roberts designated the Montgomery College Foundation scholarship he established in December 2021, the Edward Roberts Endowed Scholarship, as the beneficiary of his retirement fund.
“I believe so much in these programs and the opportunities they present,” Roberts says. The work— and the potential to make good money—is out there. Anything I can do to help students, especially those who don’t have the resources, is what I want to do. I want to make it happen for them. It will change their lives.”
Inside the Gudelsky Institution for Technical Education, a 55,000-square-foot-facility housing auto bays, laboratories, and classrooms, the College offers training for people with differing career needs and goals in automotive technology, building trades technology (carpentry, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing), welding, and computer repair.
Some people want to earn a degree, some take only the courses needed for career advancement, some want industry-recognized certifications or apprenticeships. Many are already working in the trades. By co-listing courses (making the same course open to both credit and noncredit students), the College ensures it serves everyone’s needs.
Gudelksy faculty, like Roberts, are industry experts who frequently design new classes and programs in response to industry needs, market conditions, technology advances, and policy changes. Across the region, Gudelsky-trained workers have access to positions that offer job security, above-average wages, employee benefits, and opportunities to advance.
“Supporting students in the trades as they learn is a win-win for everybody,” says Roberts.
GIFTING YOUR RETIREMENT ASSETS: “Making the Montgomery College Foundation the beneficiary of your retirement plan assets, IRA, life insurance, or commercial annuities is easy,” says Craig Eozzo, acting executive director, Montgomery College Foundation. “It usually requires just filling out a form with your retirement institution to set it up.” For more information, contact Craig.Eozzo@montgomerycollege.edu or 240-479-1300.