How a Lincoln Tech Partnership Helps Howard County

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

March 29, 2023- The Lincoln College of Technology, or “Lincoln Tech,” and international HVAC, fire, and security tech manufacturer Johnson Controls (JCI) recently enhanced their long-standing partnership, positioning Howard County as a leading destination for new employee training for the company.

“Our partnership with JCI has existed for a decade, but it grew recently with the introduction of a six-week orientation program for new Johnson Controls employees,” Lincoln Tech Columbia Campus President Cory Hughes said.

Hughes said the partnership with JCI was “already on the ball” when he came on board as president six years ago. As a priority, Hughes said he wanted to emphasize forming partnerships with potential employers to help maximize student success after graduation. Hughes stated that about 400-500 people graduate from the Columbia campus annually, “so we really need them to buy into what we do.”

A few years ago, JCI donated $80,000 worth of new fire panels, strobes, sounders, and access control equipment to the Columbia campus classrooms and about $1 million total to other campuses. This allowed Lincoln Tech students to become well-trained in their products, setting them up for careers with Johnson Controls after graduation.

In September, the partnership furthered even more when the Columbia campus was selected as the site of the Johnson Controls Academy, a six-week, intensive orientation program for new Johnson employees in access control and fire safety. For ten months of the year, 140-150 new employees go through the Academy, Hughes said. Participants are recent Lincoln Tech graduates from campuses as far away as Denver, Colorado, who come to train in Columbia.

“This is Lincoln Tech and JCI walking in lockstep, and a lot of great things are happening,” Hughes said. “There are no losers here.”

In addition to helping their students, Hughes said, the partnership between Lincoln Tech and JCI “is pretty significant for Howard County.”

“The county’s safety, diversity, well-educated workforce, and high standard of living were just a few of the factors that made the Columbia campus a standout,” Hughes said.

“People look at the community and want to see stability,” Hughes said. “They want accessibility to highways, to see local restaurants and businesses, and really to see that they can become a part of the fabric of the community. Howard County offers all of that.”

Tafia Allah Pringle, Lincoln Tech’s Director of Career Services and External Affairs, said the JCI partnership is only one example of how the Howard County campus has had an influence outside of Maryland. The campus initiated a collaboration with the nonprofit Rebuilding Together Howard County that turned into a national initiative for the other 22 campuses. Because being a part of the Howard County community has helped them so much, Allah Pringle said, it’s imperative for the campus to give back as much as they have received.

“We’re not just based here in Howard County. We thrive here with the community’s resources and partner with our community organizations,” Allah Pringle said.

Allah Pringle said that Howard County leaders are a regular presence on campus and proactive partners.

“We always have staff from both Howard County and the HCEDA present at our events,” Allah Pringle said. “We have an important role in Howard County, and Howard County has an important role here in our school. It’s definitely a strong partnership. From interviews to job fairs to apprenticeship events, we’re very engaged and involved in helping the community.”

“The partnership that Lincoln Tech has built with Johnson Controls represents a lot of potential for the school and its students, as well as for Howard County,” HCEDA CEO Lawrence Twele said. “That relationship they’ve cultivated will help Howard County economically, but it will also help secure the students a stable career with plenty of opportunities.”


About the Howard County Economic Development Authority: Howard County Economic Development Authority is a public-private partnership whose primary goal is to promote economic growth and stability by supporting existing businesses, targeting new businesses, and attracting corporate/regional headquarters. HCEDA also maintains several programs aimed at small, minority, and agricultural companies’ unique needs. Additionally, the HCEDA strives to preserve the distinctive quality of life in Howard County. To learn more about Howard County farms and the HCEDA, visit www.hceda.org

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