Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

FSU awarded $250K grant for outdoor recreation economy

Greg Larry, Cumberland Times-News, Md.

Apr. 4—FROSTBURG — Frostburg State University has been awarded a $250,000 grant for educational programs designed to support a regional approach to growing Western Maryland’s outdoor recreation economy.

The grant, from the Maryland Department of Commerce Office of Tourism in conjunction with the federal Economic Development Administration, will fund initiatives in workforce development, training and certification in Allegany and Garrett counties, and will be administered by FSU’s Division of Regional Development and Engagement.

“DRDE is very excited to be leading this regional initiative to collaboratively address the immediate outdoor recreation workforce needs in Mountain Maryland and create a pipeline of students interested in enjoying the outdoors and with the skill sets necessary to adequately support our local businesses,” said Al Delia, FSU’s vice president for regional development.

The projects will be a collaborative effort between FSU, Allegany College of Maryland, Garrett College and local outdoor recreation businesses. Supporting partners include the Maryland Office of Outdoor Recreation and county government offices in Allegany and Garrett counties.

“DRDE is uniquely situated to lead this initiative and we look forward to growing our partnerships with our community colleges and local small businesses in the outdoor recreation economy,” said Jennifer Walsh, regional initiatives coordinator for the Division of Regional Development and Engagement, and executive director of The Greater Cumberland Committee.

Funds will be used to support a bicycle mechanic program at ACM and a marine mechanic program at Garrett College, while FSU will purchase outdoor recreation equipment to support its Center for Advancement of Natural and Outdoor Experiences, led by Natalia Buta. A paid internship program will also be created to place students with local outdoor recreation-related businesses.

“The bicycle repair training through ACM will immerse students into a 4-day experience in bicycle mechanics, covering all the essential maintenance material in greater detail with hands-on training,” Cynthia Bambara, president of Allegany College of Maryland, said. “Students who complete the program will earn an Apprenticeship Bench Tool Kit and will be prepared to further their studies and participate in a paid internship with a local bike shop.”

Garrett College will partner with Deep Creek Lake-area marinas and boat companies to provide an introductory marine mechanic program.

“Upon completion of the proposed 100-hour training, a student will receive a non-credit certificate of completion from Garrett College,” Julie Yoder, the school’s dean of continuing education and workforce development, said.

According to Yoder, once a student has completed two years of experience, they will be eligible to take a certification exam through American Boat and Yacht Council to become a certified technician. Paid internships with local companies will also be available.

Ashli Workman, director of tourism for Allegany County, said Western Maryland has much to offer the sector.

“Allegany and Garrett counties are gateway communities, home to 31% of the state’s public land,” she said. “With over 600 miles of developed trail systems, one national park, three state forests and 12 state parks, our region’s outdoor recreation economy and access to natural resources offers the opportunity for sustainable economic and community development.”

Greg Larry is a reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. To reach him, call 304-639-4951, email glarry@times-news.com and follow him on Twitter @GregLarryCTN.



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Jay Ferguson

Who I Am My name is Jay Ferguson, and I am a lifelong resident of the Deep Creek Lake area. I am also co-owner of the real estate side of Taylor Made. I have been in the real estate business for 21+ years now and I LOVE what I do! I have to say, my career really took off when I co-founded the real estate side of Taylor Made in 2014. Its been an amazing experience, building a real estate company from the ground up and achieving so much so quickly! In August 2016, we purchased Long & Foster Real Estate Deep Creek, where I had started my career in 2000. In 2018, we on-boarded virtually every agent from Coldwell Banker Deep Creek Realty as they closed up shop and the real estate family grew even more! We now have over 40 sales agents and have expanded to West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well. Taylor Made is the #1 vacation rental company at Deep Creek with over 475 vacation rental homes, and over one hundred thousand yearly visitors. Its amazing what we have accomplished using the principles of honesty, teamwork and customer service! Personally, my wife Jessica and I enjoy traveling and especially spending time in the outdoors, hiking and exploring the many diverse areas that Garrett County is naturally blessed with. We have raised two wonderful children here, Kayleah (22) and Noah (13). In the summer, we love spending time on the water with friends & family and enjoying the lake life! We are both active in our church, our community & local school activities, and we fill our schedule with plenty of volunteer efforts. I currently serve on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity. I am proud to say that I was named Deep Creek Time’s Favorite ‘Community Champion’ in 2019. I was also named Garrett County Realtor of the Year in 2018-19, as well. I really enjoy promoting my hometown. I am very proud of the resort area that has developed over my lifetime and look forward to growing the area even more! Deep Creek Lake has been described as ‘The Lake Tahoe of the east', and I think that speaks volumes about the potential to own property here! Deep Creek Lake isn't really a town or city by itself; it's comprised of three towns: Oakland, Swanton & McHenry, Maryland. I am very passionate about my hometown and am impressed with how many people know about it as we travel around the country. Deep Creek Lake is an amazing place to visit and even better place to live! During the pandemic in 2020, our market exploded and more and more people left their primary residence in the city to live here permanently. With distance learning in schools and tele-commuting becoming the ‘norm’, many more people were drawn to the area to ‘live where they love to play’. Why You Want Me Working for You: In addition to being an owner, I am consistently one of the top-producing agents in the entire area and the Associate Broker of record for Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales. I have 21+ years of experience and I am a problem solver. There aren’t many situations that I have not encountered and I have a strategy for almost every scenario that you may encounter. I have extensively trained in all areas of real estate & emerging technologies, and also have trained as an appraiser, as well as served as a full-time Broker. I have a strong knowledge of the industry, as well as many trusted local contacts & affiliations that allow me to perform at a very high level and deliver results. I have a great deal of respect for my peers in this industry and have strong working relationships that I would love to put to work for you. Call me to discuss your situation - I know I can be of great service to you & others you care about! Honesty. Integrity. Results.