Montgomery College’s Community Engagement Center Opens at Gaithersburg Library (VIDEO)

The opening of the new Montgomery College Community Engagement Center on Feb. 12 at the Gaithersburg Library was emotional for many residents who shared stories about how the college had changed their lives for the better.

Germantown resident Arfilío Carrero said the opening of the center meant a lot to him. He is studying to receive a certificate to become an Apartment Maintenance Technician.

Through tears he said he has a lot to thank Montgomery College for. His five children also graduated from the institution.

“I know this was going to make my future even better and my life. I will work with something that I like,” Carrero said.

The center is a partnership between Montgomery College and the Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity at the Gaithersburg Library that’s resulted in the first Montgomery College Community Engagement Center.

“It’s the opportunity to meet the community where they are instead of waiting for students to come to us,” said DeRionne P. Pollard, Montgomery College President.

The Community Engagement Center is a pilot program, but officials said it has already served more than 1,000 residents. The center offers computer lab training classes, certificate programs, GED, ESOL and college staff are on location at this site to answer questions about job training, college enrollment, services and more.

According to Karla Silvestre, director of community engagement for the Montgomery College’s Office of Advancement and Community Engagement, the center is part of the college strategic plan to be more present, engaged and available in the community.

“We want people to get a better job, so they can improve their lives,” Silvestre said.

Silvestre added that the eastern part of the county and Wheaton may be the next places to get a community engagement center.

Classes at the new center are free. Residents must only pay $15 for material fee.

“Montgomery College really saves lives. Today is just another example. When people get emotional and how families have done so much better because of Montgomery College and what has it meant to them on an individual cases, it’s just so gratifying,” said Montgomery County Councilmember Sidney Katz.



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Aline Barros

About Aline Barros

Aline Barros is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at and on Twitter at @AlineBarros2.


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