MIT students will use Howard County as a field study for “Bridging the American Divides: Work, Community and Culture”

This week, Howard County was chosen as a Community Host for Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) USA Learning Action Lab for master’s students. Howard County was one of only seven entities across the nation chosen as a field site for this unique opportunity. The course is designed as a field study on the subject of “Bridging the American Divides: Work, Community, and Culture.” Howard County officials will travel to MIT on February 12th to kick-off the program and meet with the class. Students working with Howard County officials will visit March 16 -27 to complete their field work.

“What an incredible opportunity for Howard County to open our doors to eager, talented scholars and work together to further our innovation roadmap,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “With the launch of HoCo Dash last year, we’re excited to take the next steps to building a “Smarter” data-informed, people-driven community and look forward to working with MIT and USA Labs.”

This announcement comes after a year in Howard County marked by creative initiatives designed to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Ball announced HoCo Dash (Howard County Data and Analytics Statistics Hub), launched the Innovation Fund providing $225,000 of grants to next-level projects around the community, and invested in Columbia Gateway as the launchpad for a new Innovation Center.

The USA Lab course is designed to foster understanding of the economic, cultural, social and geographic context that defines the American experience as students contribute in concrete ways to community success. Angela Cabellon, Howard County’s first Chief Innovation Officer, submitted the USA Labs application on behalf of the County and proposed a project to jointly create the roadmap to fully become a “Smarter County.” By the end of their field work, students will propose a heavily researched plan focused on technology, infrastructure, social engagement and digital equity. MIT will cover the cost of all transportation and lodging for County officials and students during field work and class visits.

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Scott E