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Capitol Heights, MD, January 10, 2017 - More than 300 Veterans, Veteran employers and resource providers braved the cold yesterday morning to come out to the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation's (EDC) third installment of 'Operation 500' - its Veteran jobs and resource event geared towards securing good, high wage jobs for Prince George's County Veterans. EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman welcomed over 60 private sector employers and resource partners to Dave & Buster's to connect local Veterans to hot job opportunities, healthcare, housing and education resources. Many of the employers attended previous 'Operation 500' events, and were anxious to sign up for this event because of the caliber of Veterans they met in Prince George's County.
"Prince George's County is on fire today! It is completely unacceptable for any Veteran who wants a job and a great career here in Prince George's County to not have one," said Coleman. "With 2,700 Veterans who do not have jobs in Prince George's County, a median household income up by $5,000, more than $10 million in new construction in the pipeline for the County and a brand new hotel and casino that is bringing 3,600 new jobs to the County, there is no reason that EDC should not be fighting like crazy to make sure that we care for those who have put their very lives on the line for us. Our freedoms rest on the very ground they walk on and we are committed to not leaving one Veteran behind."
Employers at yesterday's Veteran Jobs and Resource Fair had more than 250 jobs that need to be filled immediately. According to Walter Simmons, EDC Director of Workforce Services Division, at least 50 Veterans were provided solid job opportunities, and he expects that number to grow.
"We are delighted to once again host the EDC's 'Operation 500 Jobs and Resource Fair'. Our goal is to provide local Veterans with the resources they need to be successful in society and also to connect with employers," said Simmons. "We have partnered with a number of great resource providers that are committed to providing the wraparound services for our Veterans to be successful in the workplace. At the same time, we are connecting them to a number of phenomenal employers in the County who are engaged and want to hire Veterans."
Helping Veterans is a priority for the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation, particularly because the County has the largest Veteran unemployment population in the State of Maryland. Through the programs and the partnerships the EDC forges with businesses in the County, it is strategically connecting Veterans to thriving companies that in turn will receive the highest rate of return on their hiring decision. PEPCO Holdings and Civility Management Solutions were two of the companies in attendance with more 100 jobs for local Veterans. They also were prominent sponsors of the jobs and resource fair.
"PEPCO Holdings is here today because of the partnership it has with the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation, and because we are committed to the community," said Mike Maxwell, Vice President of Human Resources for PEPCO Holdings. "Part of that commitment is to hire as many residents of Prince George's County and our service area as possible. We believe that Veterans would do well at PEPCO because of their unique skill set and work ethic that fits the positions we have. PEPCO is the kind of company that people can grow in their careers and retire from with great benefits."
Laurie Sales Artis, President and CEO of Civility Management Solutions and a retired Marine Veteran has also benefitted from the EDC's Hire Prince George's program and was excited to participate in today's event.
"I am always delighted to work with the Economic Development Corporation and I appreciate the work that they are doing in Prince George's County," said Artis. "As a fellow Marine Veteran, I know the work ethic that a Veteran brings to the workforce. My company specializes in contract administration, leadership development and IT management and support, mostly in the federal work space. I welcome the opportunity to bring more of my fellow Veterans into the work place."
Other sponsors who generously supported the efforts of 'Operation 500 - Veteran Jobs and Resource Fair' to provide job opportunities for local Veterans included Industrial Bank, Whiting-Turner Construction, Crowned Grace International, Giant Foods, the Walton Group, Blueline Security Services, Clark Construction, Pepsi and Dave and Buster's.
Many of the Veterans expressed their delight with number of employers and resources that were available at the event. Several received multiple invitations to interview and conditional job offers from the local employers.
"I heard about the EDC job fair on the radio and decided that I should come out to see if I could get a job," said Joseph Lewis, Jr. retired Navy Veteran from Forestville, MD. "I haven't been here that long and I have already received two interview invitations, and I haven't been to all of the vendor tables yet! I have I feeling that I will get more. As a chef, I am trying to get back into the workforce to develop my skills, better myself, stay professional in everything that I do and help others."
Per Scholas, an organization that provides free information technology training opportunities to individuals from often overlooked communities, including free Cyber security training, books, materials, certifications, soft skills training and job placement assistance to qualified applicants, was one of the resource vendors that participated in the Jobs and Resource Fair.
"We are excited to be a part of today's jobs and resource fair," said Chrystal Banks, Admissions Associate at Per Scholas. "This is a great opportunity for let Veterans know about the free IT Support courses and certifications that Per Scholas has to offer, and to get them back into the workforce. Veterans are unique and easy to place because of their security clearances from their military experiences. We are delighted to be able to partner with the EDC on this important initiative."
Follow the EDC's LinkedIn company page at 'Prince George's County EDC' to stay up-to-date on the 'Operation 500' initiative and upcoming recruitment events.