The College of Southern Maryland has held several invents advancing science and technical education and entrepreneurial assistance through its new Velocity Center in Indian Head.
That was the report delivered to the Charles County commissioners on Tuesday during a briefing on the center by Ellen Flowers-Fields, CSM associate vice president of continuing education and workforce development, and Lesley Quattlebaum, interim director of the Velocity Center.
“The shared vision for the Velocity Center is foundational in community economic development,” Flowers-Fields said.
The center has hosted programs on advancing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education, small business assistance and collaboration events with the community over the last year.
County middle schoolers participated in a week-long summer program in 2021 where they learned about engineering, robotics and other technology based programs. About 58 students attended the program, with over half representing Indian Head, Bryans Road and Nanjemoy.
The college plans to continue the summer program this year.
Quattlebaum said the Velocity Center made a concerted effort to advertise the event to residents in western Charles County.
The Velocity Center launched the Innovation Hub in February to provide existing businesses in the area with technical assistance for various operational challenges.
While one Indian Head-based small business was currently in the program, the Velocity Center hopes to add a second county business to the program by the end of the fiscal year.
The center also plans to host its first ever “Hackathon” on May 19-20 with virtual or in-person competition.
The VelocityX Hackathon will host up to eight teams to solve one of three challenges presented by the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indian Head, the Town of Indian Head and CSM’s information management team.
Currently four of the maximum eight teams have entered into the event, which has a $12,000 prize pool. Interested parties should visit the CSM website for more information and to enter.
Health department to receive extra funding
An extra quarter of a million dollars has been allocated to the Charles County Health Department as a part of additions to the budget made by the county commissioners.
Funds were made available through add/delete submissions made by the commissioners which were discussed Tuesday during one of the final budget work sessions before the May 17 vote on adopting the fiscal 2023 budget.
The funds would come from the county’s contingency budget, which is adopted within the total operating budget for emergency expenditures or to cover revenue shortfalls that may arise.
According to commissioners, the funds can be spent toward whatever programs Dr. Dianna Abney, county health officer, sees fit.
The apportionment was made by modifying a motion by Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins II (D) which originally added $144,000 for nurses and security personnel for the health department.
The request was expanded to $250,000 and removed a joint request of the same amount to supplement health department positions from commissioners Bobby Rucci (D) and Gilbert “BJ” O. Bowling III (D).
Those funds would have drawn from the pretrial services budget, but the cash was preserved to facilitate a fall start to the program.
Joint requests from Bowling and Rucci to fund the self-help legal clinic and appoint two part-time bailiffs to the Charles County Circuit Court using pretrial services funds were approved.
Commissioner Amanda M. Stewart (D) also proposed two fund balance expenditures for a feasibility study for a bike path from Cobb Island to Southern Park and a redesign to the commissioners’ specialist space to deal with security concerns.
A preliminary list of commissioner additions and subtractions is available on the commissioners’ BoardDocs website.
A complete list will be available during the May 17 meeting ahead of a vote on budget adoption.