Archives For January 2012

by Hilary Swaim, 2tor Marketing Coordinator

When 2tor employees explore the company’s new Landover headquarters, one of the required stops on the tour is Chip Paucek’s office.

CEO Chip Paucek at 2tor's new headquarters

As the company’s former Chief Operating Officer and recently appointed CEO, Paucek is the first to tout that his office — now outfitted with a fish tank, a world map mural and bright red couches — was the high-tech education company’s first operations center. Growing rapidly from one room and fewer than 10 employees when it was founded in 2008, 2tor’s Maryland office is now buzzing with nearly 250 employees (and counting) across four floors on Corporate Drive.

“It was a natural move for us to shift 2tor’s headquarters to Landover, with the majority of our employees being based here,” said Chip Paucek. “As a long time Maryland resident, I’m so proud to have been affiliated with so many local businesses including Hooked on Phonics in Baltimore.  I live and boat actively in Annapolis.  Old Bay runs in my blood at this point.”

The move to a new Maryland headquarters supports the company’s aim to be near the highly-educated workforce the state has to offer.  2tor plans to continue its hiring spree and currently has dozens of positions across the board, from account management, marketing, operations, human resources, analytics and administrative roles.  

 
Founded by Paucek and John Katzman, former leaders of Hooked on Phonics and the Princeton Review, respectively, 2tor is the nation’s highest-funded education technology start up that delivers graduate degrees online by forming partnerships with top-tier research universities. The company was able to raise $65 million in funding to date, with Bethesda-based Novak Biddle Venture Partners as an investor.

2tor’s partner programs combine real-time online classes, a dynamic learning management system and an immersive social network, 2tor’s programs are built collaboratively with each university partner’s renowned on-campus curriculum and professors. The company’s current partners include the University of Southern California, Georgetown University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Today, more than 3,000 students are enrolled and more than 500 students have graduated from 2tor programs and come from almost every U.S. state and 30 countries.

2tor employee, Denise Mack, in front of wall of university partner flags

At the Landover headquarters, the company highlights the strong connection between 2tor and its university partners. Each program is represented with official mascots, flags, custom beanbag chairs and walls painted precisely to university color specifications.

Learn more about 2tor’s partnerships:

  •  MAT@USC: Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education
  •  MSW@USC: Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California, School of Social Work
  •  Nursing@Georgetown: Master’s in Nursing from Georgetown University, School of Nursing & Health Studies
  • MBA@UNC: Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School

by Maureen Kilcullen, DBED Marketing & Communications

Feeling sheepish about your winter wardrobe? Itching to try something new? Leslye Solomon, owner of Woolstock Yarn Shop, has just the solution. The entrepreneur has parlayed her passion for knitting into a multi-faceted business reaching customers across the nation and overseas. Fourteen years ago she opened Woolstock, tucked away in quaint Glyndon, a historic village that dates to the late 1800s.

Woolstock Yarn Shop in Glyndon

“My business now has many aspects – from the yarn shop serving the local community, the people who travel to us from long distances,  to the manufacture of the various knitting products we create right here in Maryland,” Leslye says.

With an array of beautiful yarns, easy and intricate patterns for clothing of all types, and a staff of knitting and crocheting experts, Leslye’s shop is treasure trove of ideas and innovation. Walk into Woolstock on any Saturday afternoon and for a moment, you’ll think you stepped back in time. A cadre of women is seated around a farm table – knitting needles flying and conversation flowing – in a scene reminiscent of the quilting bees that sprang up in the early 19thcentury. Yet Woolstock is not your great-grandma’s yarn shop.

Saturday afternoon knitting group

Instead, Leslye marries old traditions with new technologies. Newcomers and old-timers alike are welcomed into what she describes as “the community of friends” gathered around Woolstock’s table every week. Wander around the shop and you can’t help but be intrigued by the colors and textures of the yarn – everything from hand-dyed merino wool to glow-in-the-dark nylon fiber, in a spectrum of colors from lime juice and cobalt to flashdance and violet tulip. It’s hard not to get hooked.
 

Woolstock 's array of yarns

Leslye, who has taught both hand and machine knitting across the country for more than 20 years, offers private lessons as well as classes and seminars to those interested in learning to knit or improving techniques. She’s produced nine instructional knitting DVDs, including “The Absolute Best Way to Learn How to Knit” that demonstrates the basics of both the American and Continental methods of knitting. Her latest innovation is KnitSpeaker, an application for Apple mobile devices that allows knitters to input stitch repeat patterns and knit at a comfortable pace while listening to instructions. With this app, paper patterns are passé.  The KnitSpeaker app is now being sold from the Apple App Store to consumers all over the world.

Personalized service, though, is still in vogue at Woolstock. Despite the modernisms, Leslye and her team of eight provide the attention, advice and assistance to patrons that is hard to find online. They’ll keep you in stitches.

By Karen Glenn Hood, Marketing and Communications

A start-up beverage company that recently acquired the distribution rights for a popular fruit beverage has found a home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

 This week, Triple Ventures LLC announced it has purchased a 30,000 square-foot building in the Chesapeake Industrial Park in Cambridge to manufacture and distribute beverages, including the Fruit Wave H2O product line. Over the next three years, the company plans to create 50 full-time jobs and make a $1.9 million investment in equipment and retrofitting the building. The company was recently formed by principals of Royalle Dining Services, an existing vending machine distributor in Calvert County, and other investors.

 “We are extremely excited to open our bottling facility in Cambridge,” said Ed Baddour Jr., Triple Ventures Vice President. “It is great to see Maryland’s commitment to manufacturing jobs. We had tremendous help from DBED, MEDCO and the local Economic Development Offices in Cambridge and Dorchester County in choosing to grow our company on the Eastern Shore. We are confident in meeting our employment goals and hope to be in full production by fall 2012.”

Triple Ventures' new building in Chesapeake Industrial Park

 To help with the building purchase, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development approved a $1.5 million loan to the company. In 2002, DBED funded the construction of the building, which is owned by the Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO), as flex space for an industrial tenant. The loan is being made through the DBED’s Maryland Economic Development Assistance Fund (MEDAF).

“The State was pleased to work with our partners in Dorchester County to provide this  promising start up with the support it needs to become operational and create 50 new jobs on the Eastern Shore,”  said DBED Secretary Christian S. Johansson. “Maryland has an outstanding climate for start-ups to succeed, including a strategic location accessible to many markets and one of the most highly-skilled workforces in the country.”

“The fact that Triple Ventures chose Cambridge demonstrates that the community offers real business growth opportunities with a business friendly attitude,” said Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley. “The city’s quality water supply is an obvious asset for the delicious Fruit Wave product line. I am proud to welcome this company to Cambridge and to have the rewards of new employment opportunities for our citizens.”

“The County is truly excited about the seamless partnership between State, County and local officials that facilitated the purchase of the 30,000 square-foot building in the Chesapeake Industrial Park by Triple Ventures, LLC,” said Keasha Haythe, CEcD, Dorchester County Economic Development Director. “The County’s close proximity to the Baltimore/Washington mega-market offers a lower cost of doing business which makes Dorchester County an excellent choice for such a start-up operation in need of a strategic location.”

by Jacob Austin, DBED Marketing & Communications

Governor O’Malley (center) publically announced that RG Steel has secured financing to resume operations at its Sparrows Point plant and bring nearly 800 employees back to work who were furloughed late last month.

“A line of credit has been secured to allow RG to fire up the furnace and get our steelworkers back to work again at Sparrows Point”.

 Joining Governor O’Malley at a job training center in Hanover, MD was RG Steel employees (back), RG Steel CEO John Goodwin (right), and United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard (left).

The optimistic CEO stated “With this liquidity bridging the gap to where we feel steel is going this year, we can make a very successful company, and preserve the jobs we just got back.” When asked on the sustainability of the saved jobs Leo Gerard said “I’m confident they will remain. We now have leadership that wants to make steel.”

Governor O'Malley stand with RG Steel leadership and employees

The atmosphere of ready-to-work employees was cheerfully hopeful.  A large portion of employees returned to work earlier this month and remaining will return by the end of January.

Sparrows Point steel woker

RG Steel announced today that the “L” blast furnace at its Sparrows Point plant has resumed operations. The “L” furnace is expected to reach normal operating rates within several days.” (RG Steel January, 17 2012).

 

by Karen Glenn Hood, DBED Marketing and Communications

Like many small business owners, Susan Aplin wanted to expand her business.

As the CEO of Bambeco, an eco-friendly home and housewares company based in Baltimore, Aplin saw opportunity in the ever-growing market for sustainable goods. She wanted to add employees, she wanted to increase her inventory and she wanted a bigger space.

So, last year, Aplin turned to the Maryland Venture Fund, a financing program of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), which has approved a $100,000 investment in the retailer, enabling the company to move forward on its goals for growth.

Bambeco is among the business success stories being highlighted in a series of ads that DBED began running this week on local radio and on WashingtonPost.com to connect Maryland small businesses that may not qualify for traditional bank financing with State resources. The 10-week Financing that Fits campaign promotes four of the State’s key financing programs that received the first round of $23 million of funding from the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

“The Financing that Fits campaign is part of a larger, ongoing effort by the State to address the needs of the many small businesses that are continuing to struggle to access credit,” said DBED Secretary Christian S. Johansson. “These four finance programs received additional federal funds targeted to help small businesses and we want to ensure that the businesses that need such assistance are aware that these programs exist and learn how they can benefit from them.”

 In addition to Bambeco, the ads feature stories about Environmental Engineering and Construction and John L. Williams Funeral Home, as well as lender Harbor Bank, which has worked with DBED on several loan guarantee deals.  The ads drive listeners and readers to the State’s economic development website ChooseMaryland.org, which has more information on the programs and provides a form that businesses can fill out which will be evaluated for potential financing by DBED staff.
 

The DBED programs promoted in the ads are the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA), which provides credit guarantees to small businesses that may not meet established credit criteria; the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority (MIDFA), which provides loan guarantees; and the Maryland Venture Fund (MVF), which invests in seed and early stage businesses to help with the cost of bringing a new product to market. Also included in the promotion is a program of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Neighborhood Business Works, which provides gap financing to new or expanding small business and nonprofits in sustainable communities. In May 2010, Governor Martin O’Malley and U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios announced as part of a national effort to strengthen existing State finance programs that support lending to small business that Maryland would receive a total of $23 million for these programs, $7 million of which became available in June. Once those funds are expended, the programs can jointly draw down the remaining $16 million.

 

by Karen Glenn Hood, DBED Marketing and Communications

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) unveiled the first phase of a new interactive tool that allows businesses and citizens to map the State’s key business assets and resources.  MDbizMap, housed on DBED’s website ChooseMaryland.org, provides users with a unified mapping application to access information in several categories and subcategories, including Maryland’s jobs, top employers, education, incentive zones, public services, transportation and point of interests, either by a single map or by layering several maps together.

MDbizMap was created in-house by the State’s GIS Coordinator Julia Fischer and Web application developer Padmini Gorty and consolidates into a central location dozens of pages of separate maps that existed on the website. A second phase of the MDbizMap will debut this Spring with maps on taxes, demographics and utilities, with additional phases planned. 

“MDbizMap gives our businesses and citizens a one stop shop of the most requested data on everything from where schools and top employers are located to where new jobs are being created,” said DBED Secretary Christian S. Johansson. “Once the MDbizMap has been operational for a few months, we plan to survey the business community to identify what maps they would like to see us incorporate.”

MDbizMap is the most recently introduced component of Maryland Made Easy, an ongoing interagency initiative to streamline procedures, simplify regulations and improve communications where business and government intersect. Launched by Governor O’Malley in January 2011, Maryland Made Easy has reformed State Highway Access permit process, unveiled an interactive one-stop shop web site, created a “Fast Track” concurrent permit review application, and awarded a contract to begin converting more than 400 licenses and permits to a web-based application by the end of 2012.

by Jill Feinberg, Communications Director Star-Spangled 200, Inc.

Gov. Martin O’Malley recently announced that Papa John’s has become the first founding corporate partner of Star-Spangled 200 (SS200), Inc., the nonprofit affiliate of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission. The commission and SS200 are planning a multi-year commemoration of the bicentennial, starting with an international maritime festival and air show – Star-Spangled Sailabration – in June at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay region.

Papa John’s, the official pizza company of the Ravens, publicized its new partnership with SS200 at M&T Bank Stadium, prior to and during the Baltimore Ravens winning play-off game against the Houston Texans last Sunday afternoon. M&T Bank Stadium also flew the commemorative 15-star, 15-stripe flag – a replica of the Star-Spangled Banner that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem – that day. 

 

“Maryland is the centerpiece of our nation’s commemoration of the War of 1812,” said Gov. O’Malley. “I’d like to thank Papa John’s for supporting our State as we, the revolutionary people of Maryland, celebrate our revolutionary history.”

The three-year partnership provides Papa John’s with marketing, public relations, signage and advertising benefits, as well as exclusive pizza vending rights at all Star-Spangled 200 events, including Star-Spangled Sailabration, June 13-19.

“By partnering with Star-Spangled 200, Papa John’s is not only promoting Maryland’s state-wide commemoration, but also giving its Maryland customers a unique way to support the initiative, just by ordering their favorite pizza,” said Bob Billman, operations vice president for Papa John’s. 

 


Through the three-year partnership, Papa John’s will offer a 10 percent discount for online orders and another 10 percent will be donated to Star-Spangled 200, Inc. To take advantage of this offer and order a game-day pizza, go to www.papajohns.com and use promotional code: SS200.  The offer, valid at participating Maryland Papa John’s locations, is available for online orders only and for regular menu price items.

by Johanna Colburn, DBED Marketing & Communications

Tracking financial incentives to Maryland businesses and organizations just became as easy as clicking a mouse.

Earlier this week, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development launched the first phase of an online tool called Finance Tracker, designed to make tracking State grants, tax credits, equity investments and loan enhancements by the Agency more accessible and transparent to both businesses and citizens.

“The goal of Finance Tracker is to both inspire interest in our finance programs and help businesses and entrepreneurs understand the types of financing available by perusing the nature and number of qualified recipients,” said the Agency’s Secretary Christian S. Johansson. “An equally important objective was to make this information significantly more accessible and transparent to anyone interested in learning how and where the State invests economic development resources.”

Finance Tracker features a searchable database of DBED funding awards in 30 categories and is sortable by company, amount, location, program and fiscal year. This provides quick and easy access to finance in local and state businesses.

Creation of the Finance Tracker was motivated by a previously negative report card that ranked the Agency poorly for access to finance program information. The Governor’s State Stat Office and DBED’s offices of finance, IT and interactive marketing collaborated to develop this first phase. Finance Tracker is located on the agency’s award-winning web site, ChooseMaryland.

 Finance Tracker is part of Maryland Made Easy, an ongoing interagency initiative to streamline procedures, simplify regulations and improve communications where business and government intersect. Launched by Governor O’Malley in January 2011, Maryland Made Easy has reformed State Highway Access permit process, unveiled an interactive one-stop shop web site, created a “Fast Track” concurrent permit review application, and awarded a contract to begin converting more than 400 licenses and permits to a web-based application by the end of 2012.

by Ann-Marie Sedor, Communications and Brand Manager, Righttime Medical Care

With the opening next week of Righttime Medical Care’s urgent Care Center in Olney, Maryland residents will have access to the only urgent care facility in the area that accepts same-day appointments.

As part of Righttime’s commitment to providing the highest quality care, patients can make appointments either through Righttime’s Call Center or online and wait comfortably at home.

Annapolis Care Center

Patients can receive care for injuries and illnesses at Righttime, which also offers digital x-rays, on-site laboratory services and prescription services. Righttime’s success is reflected in its numbers as one of only 20 urgent care companies in the country with more than three locations.

On any given day, Righttime’s Call Center buzzes with activity. Open from 7:30 a.m. to midnight, 365 days a year, several dozen representatives answer calls, serving as patient care advocates to determine the nature and severity of each patient’s illness and, when necessary, directing callers to other resources. Representatives also call patients back after their visits to ensure that patients are feeling better and have followed up with their primary doctors.

“What sets Righttime apart is a full complement of high-quality medical services to care for patients efficently and affordably, and focusing on the patients’ need for great service and caring” says Righttime’s CEO and Chief Pediatrician Robert G. Graw, Jr., M.D.

He adds, “We are giving love to our patients by being there for them when they need us, and patients and families appreciate that. Doctors love us because we help their patients when they are unavailable, but send patients back to them for follow-up care. Hospitals love us because we take the burden off their emergency rooms by providing care for non-life-threatening situations, and insurance companies love us because our costs are so much less than emergency rooms, while their subscribers love our services.”

Gaithersburg Care Center

Award winners for exceptional care, Righttime’s locations have a dynamic design that features water walls, private seating, wireless internet with laptop counters, and engaging colors and art, all with a nod to patient convenience and comfort, and environmental friendliness.

Righttime Moblie Fleet

Righttime’s brand is also carried on a fleet of vehicles, including a a number of Volkswagon Beetles and a 65-foot Mobile Care Center, used for community health outreach, staff training and public health emergencies.

 

Dr. Robert G. Graw, Jr.

 

Dr. Graw started Righttime Medical Care as Nighttime Pediatrics in1989 with several other private practice pediatricians. While he already knew infants and children rarely got sick at convenient times, he never imagined the need the need for care when doctors offices were closed would be fulfilled for years to come.

Over the past two decades, Nighttime Pediatrics expanded its hours and opened additional Care Centers, based on the growing demand to care for people of all ages. In early 2010, Nighttime changed its name to Righttime Medical Care to reflect its extended hours from 9am to midnight, every day of the year. Today, a significant portion of its patients are now adults.

Dr. Graw, an energetic visionary whose signature style includes wearing a bowtie every day, combined the art of medicine with modern technology and business concepts to grow from a single location and 12 employees to nine locations employing about 250 staff and providers. With more than 1.5 million patient visits since starting, it seems Righttime Medical Care has the right combination for future growth and continued success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Andrea Vernot

2012 Fee Free Days Begin this Weekend

Marketing pros have long employed the ‘loss leader’ or product give-away to create brand awareness and generate new customers.  From the candy and cereal samples I regularly receive with my daily newspaper, to the classic “comp” coupon for restaurants or retail stores, free can get you in a business’s door – and get you hooked on their goods or services.
 

Assateague National Seashore, Credit: Mindie Burgoyne

The National Park Service (NPS) has borrowed a page from this time honored PR tactic.  The NPS, along with the Fish & Wildlife Service, waives their entrance fees on designated days.  Their Fee Free Days are aligned with both national holidays – like this weekend’s Martin Luther King commemoration – as well as special designations celebrating our country’s “greatest national idea,” including National Parks Week, Get Out & Play Day and Public Lands Day.

 

I learned about this national promotion while visiting Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, a magnificent 25,000 acre waterfowl sanctuary and wetland outside Cambridge Maryland.  Out for an unseasonably warm day of biking and bird watching over Veterans Day weekend, we pulled up to the gate prepared to pay the $3 car charge only to be greeted by a sign proclaiming the fee free weekend.

Bald Eage, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Credit: Mindie Burgoyne

After some quick research on the return trip, I learned that the NPS has 17 designated days in 2012.  The first “Fee FreeDays” begins this weekend with the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. January 14-16, 2012.  All national parks with entrance fees — including Maryland’s beloved Ft. McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine, Assateague Island National Seashore and Antietam National Battlefield, will be free this weekend.  Visit the NPS web sitefor a complete list of Maryland properties and attraction and admission information.

 

Ft. McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine, Maryland, Credit: Maryland Office of Tourism

 
If you haven’t visited the new Ft.McHenry Visitor Center since it officially opened in March 2011, you’re in for a treat. The exhibits, gift shop and film — with its rousing crescendo –are definitely worth a visit.  A revitalized sea wall path was recently upgraded and broadened to carry the many area residents who regularly bike, walk or jog around this picturesque promontory.
 

 

 

 
2012 NPS Fee Free Days 

Antietam National Battlefield, Hagerstown. Credit: Minidie Burgoyne

January 14-16          Martin Luther King
April 21-29               National Park Week
June 9                       Get Outdoors Day!
September 29          Public Lands Day
November 10-12     Veterans Day Weekend

 

by Kathy Snyder, CCE, President/CEO, Maryland Chamber of Commerce

The 2012 Session of the Maryland General Assembly will begin January 11 with some very difficult decisions facing the legislature.  A billion dollar budget shortfall coupled with anticipated federal budget cuts will mean few new projects can be brought home to districts when dollars are so tight. Yet we need to do more to create and retain more high paying jobs in Maryland and improve our infrastructure. 

Do you have ideas on how the legislature can do that?  Here are a few ways in which Marylanders can easily get involved with issues that will be debated in Annapolis this session:

  • Visit or at least call your state senator and delegates to let them know first-hand how your business is faring in the economic recovery.  Many of them don’t have their own businesses so your input truly would help them learn, from an employer’s perspective, what it will take to hire more people at your location.  Creating and retaining more jobs in Maryland is key to our recovery – and business people must share their expertise and viewpoints with decision makers to help them make the right choices.  If you don’t know who your legislators are or how to reach them, use the Maryland Chamber Action Network voter voice website. It’s free and your information will never be used or sold for any other purpose.

    Maryland Chamber Day 2011

  • Join more than 300 business leaders from throughout the State at the Maryland Chamber’s Annual Business Day in Annapolis at the Loew’s Hotel on January 19 to learn what big issues will be debated.  Congressman Christopher Van Hollen will speak after breakfast about the pending federal budget cuts. Senate President Mike Miller and Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin and House Speaker Mike Busch and Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell will present their positions on issues like the state budget, taxes, workplace regulation and cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. 
  • Follow the Maryland Chamber Network blog to read about the issues which the General Assembly will debate that will impact employers.  The daily write ups and videos during the session provide regular updates for our members and those of 50 local chambers throughout the State about what is happening in Annapolis for the next 90 days that will impact our economy and your bottom-line.

    Maryland Congressional Dinner 2011

  • Interested in what is happening on Capitol Hill?  Join us again Monday, February 6 at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt for our Annual Maryland Congressional Delegation Dinner.  Both US Senators and all eight Representatives have been invited to attend this town hall styled discussion of issues important to Maryland’s business community.  Join us and hear what they have to say. 

Each of us must take a few minutes to pay attention to the ideas and proposals offered by our legislative officials in Annapolis over the course of the next few months.  They want to help Maryland overcome the recession and will debate issues with information they have available.  Your viewpoints should be part of that discussion.

by Chris Palmer, Ilse Raven, Diane Mallare, Megan Ward, Loyola College

Engaging and Interactive. Two simple words describe the experience one will undertake through the Maryland Science Center (MSC) which is a part of one of the oldest scientific institutions in the nation, and the oldest in the state of Maryland: the Maryland Academy of Sciences. Young children and adults alike are engaged and entertained while learning and exploring science.

The Maryland Science Center features 14 full-size dinosaurs in Dinosaur Mysteries, an exploration of the day in the life of the human body in Your Body: The Inside Story, Newton’s Alley, with dozens of interactive activities, a national touring exhibit, and the five story IMAX Theater. Other popular attractions include The Kids Room and the world-famous Davis Planetarium.

The MSC has grown their vision to ignite a spark of interest in science by reaching out to the community through their various programs and by taking science to children in schools, recreation centers, and libraries.

President and Chief Executive Officer of the MSC, Van Reiner states that he wants to “make science and technology available for that segment of the population, especially students who can’t come. For instance, last year we took science to every school district in the state from Garrett County all the way down to western Wicomico County.”

One of the most successful programs according to Reiner is the partnership with the Baltimore City Head Start Program which is offered in 50 different public school locations reaching approximately 1,200 Inner City children. The Head Start Program is an educational service to low-income preschool children and families focused on providing early education and development services.

“We use science to help the children get ready to learn when they enter Kindergarten…and that has been very successful,” stated Reiner.

A third party evaluation tested the children before they entered Head Start as well as when they finished the program and there was a difference in their readiness to learn with the help of the MSC.

Reiner states the importance of these outreach programs because “research shows that if a child enters Kindergarten not ready to learn, if they catch up at all, it won’t be until fifth grade. And that is a big IF.”

Looking at the year ahead, Reiner is excited about the three new exhibits (Harry’s Big Adventure, Math Midway, Race: Are We So Different?) as well as ongoing community outreach programs that will engage over approximately 600,000 individuals.