Local philanthropists donate to help AACC


Vollie Melson

Philanthropist Janet Clauson speaks at an AACC foundation event revealing the Clauson Center. Clauson and her husband, James, donated $1 million toward its construction.

Lilly Roser, Reporter

Two Anne Arundel County philanthropists donated $1 million to help AACC build a space for skilled trades classes on the Arnold campus.

James and Janet Clauson of Hanover, Maryland regularly donate money to the college from their personal finances as well as from their charitable organization, the Clauson Family Foundation.

“Whether it is recreational or it is aspirational for someone … who wants to go on to a four-year degree,” Janet Clauson said, “the community college simply provides an incredible resource for students of all ages in [the] community.”

Clauson, a former NASA employee, said the $1 million donation will support the vitality of trade workers and accessible education.

Named the Clauson Center, this new building for skilled trades, located behind the Careers Center, on the Arnold campus. It opened in January and welcomed its first non-credit trade students.

As residents of Anne Arundel County for many years, Clauson said the couple’s personal contribution to the Center was motivated by the “need for workforce training.”

When AACC revealed that it was looking to build a skilled trades center, Clauson said, the couple wanted to play a critical role in helping this plan come to life.

Ultimately, the certifications and education that skilled trades students will leave the Clauson Center with will be valuable and that is the main goal, Clauson, who has an MBA, said.

Clauson, who has attended AACC for more than 15 years, said she appreciates the opportunities the college offers to its students.

Clauson said the workforce development classes that students take in the Clauson Center will help feed Anne Arundel County employers’ needs for skilled trade workers in the field.

Every trade is a “fabric of our lives,” Clauson said.

Clauson also said, students with an education and experience in the skilled trades can find jobs anywhere around the world.

“These are good jobs,” Clauson said. “These are jobs that will sustain families, that will … help people to be able to purchase their own homes and to take care of [them], to marry and to take care of kids. And I think that’s what we need in this country. We don’t necessarily need more hedge fund managers.”