The concept for Frederick Center for Research and Education in Science and Technology (CREST) dates to a meeting of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce’s Major Employers Group (MEG) in 2007. Members of this group identified some of the major challenges to the sustainability and growth of the more than 80 different STEM-associated businesses in Frederick County. At the top of their critical list of needs was access to graduate degree and graduate certificate programs to meet the workforce and economic development needs of these regional STEM employers.
In 2013, with the help of the Frederick State Delegation, House Bill 527 was passed by the Maryland legislature, creating the Frederick Regional Higher Education Advisory Board (FRHEAB). This Board was charged with examining the constraints and opportunities of establishing a state approved Regional Higher Education Center (RHEC) in Frederick to meet the workforce needs of regional employers.
In 2014, a state-funded Frederick County Higher Education Needs Assessment was published. This assessment aided FRHEAB to identify the scope of unmet higher education needs in the area and revealed a number of academic areas in STEM concentrations that could be addressed through a RHEC.
In 2015, with the help of the Frederick State Delegation, House Bill 37 was passed by the Maryland legislature establishing a Regional Higher Education Center in Frederick known as the Frederick Center for Research and Education in Science and Technology (CREST). In FY15 and FY16, funding for CREST was almost exclusively from private contributions. In FY17, the State of Maryland began funding CREST as a state RHEC. CREST has since formally begun its mission to improve access to employer-driven STEM graduate level academic and research opportunities in the Frederick region.