For those of us in the Baltimore Region, the world has slowly shifted on its axis to accommodate life without the Francis Scott Key Bridge. But as we are the Community College of Baltimore County… and “community” is our first name, CCBC stands ready to do what we always do when confronted by adversity. We face it, head on! We have capacity; we have commitment; and we will help because, as a community college, we are – first and foremost – “by, for, and of” the community.

CCBC students, faculty, staff and community partners watched this tragic event unfold only miles from CCBC Dundalk, one of our three main campuses. We know that the loss of this bridge – an important highway for access for both ships and commuters – will impact our communities in major ways for many years. Although a heaviness currently blankets the region, strong minds, hearts and bodies at the state, county and local levels are piecing together a plan to rebuild the bridge and the many elements that make the Baltimore Port one of the most important on the East Coast. To the degree that our services and support are needed, CCBC will be a part of that renewal.

As is typical of our community college sector, we have once again stepped forward when our community is in need. When the steel mill finally closed in Dundalk and the loss of jobs was heartbreakingly high, CCBC was there to help with retraining and upskilling. When the pandemic launched its deadly venom and 8,000 to 10,000 students would have had to withdraw because they could not learn online, our college devised ways to remain fully open with classes onsite as well as online. And now our college is here for the 18,000 port workers and their families and our business partners who may need our help to retrain and upskill the workforce to find a new job or a new life. In fact, the county, state and federal offices of the Small Business Administration have already opened temporary centers on our CCBC Dundalk campus to help those 18,000 port workers affected by this tragedy.

With 300 different academic programs designed for both degrees and certificates for the 50,000 students who attend CCBC, our college will be an important partner in the economic and social re-development of our region and our state. We will do whatever we can to support our community through this crisis during this difficult time. I am proud and grateful to have the privilege of working with the many like-minded faculty and staff who step forward in difficult times like these. Working together, we will help our community recover and rebuild to emerge stronger and more resilient than ever. As our community college colleagues across the country, we have capacity; we have commitment; and we will help.