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Inaugural Municipal Appreciation Day Breeds Greater Support And Collaboration For Local Governments

(l. to r. EDC President & CEO Jim Coleman; EDC Chief of Staff Britta Vander Linden; EDC Development Manager Nichelle Holmes; Bladensburg Councilmember Walter Ficklin)Largo, MD, March 30, 2016 - This morning, the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) hosted its First Annual Municipal Open House and Appreciation Day at its headquarters in Largo, Maryland.  More than 50 municipal officials and economic development leaders came together to engage in an interactive discussion about key economic development initiatives and programs available through the EDC to support job seekers and enhance business development. 

"We are 'Activating Prosperity' in every village, and every hamlet," said EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman.  " We are celebrating prosperity in our County today by bringing in all of our mayors, town managers, council members and economic development leaders to talk about economic development and to first, share with them the wonderful resources we have at the EDC.  Secondly, we wanted get their feedback, as their partners, on how we can help them get their residents back to work and help their small businesses to grow and attract more businesses to the County. I'm glad to have each of them as part of my EDC 'posse'. Let prosperity ring!"

Thomas Himler, Deputy Chief Administration Officer for Budget, Finance and Economic Development and David Iannucci, Assistant Deputy Chief Administration Officer for Economic Development, top executives from County Executive Baker's office, and the Prince George's Arts and Humanities Council were also in attendance.  After breaking bread with the municipal leaders with a country style breakfast, generously sponsored by CareFirst, Mr. Coleman told the attendees how forums like these are a vital part of the EDC's 'Activate Prosperity' initiative, which seeks to raise the awareness of the business and workforce development resources the EDC has at its disposal.  By local jurisdictions taking an active role in implementing the resources the EDC has for business attraction, business expansion, small business development and workforce training and placement in their communities, the EDC anticipates that home values will rise and median household incomes will increase through the creation of well-paying jobs for their residents in key industry sectors.

"It is a great time for municipal leaders to become more involved in what is going on in economic development in Prince George's County," said David Iannucci, Assistant Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Economic Development for the Office of the County Executive of Prince George's County.  "Schools are improving dramatically, public safety numbers are spectacular, and year over year, we are increasing our job numbers exponentially. There are projects going on from north to south, and this is great news for the County and our municipalities.  Municipal leaders here today can learn how the EDC can help their residents get their share of jobs at MGM, and the hospital and the FBI when it comes.  We need your help in identifying the workers in your jurisdictions and provide them with the skills they need to become eligible for the jobs we fought so hard to get."

Municipal leaders were pleased with the open house and in particular the programs that the EDC Workforce Development Division presented such as: the One-Stop Career Center that provides job training skills and job placements to County residents; the Hire Prince George's initiative that provides financial assistance to County employer hiring County residents; and the Youth CareerConnect Program - the prestigious $7 million grant that President Barack Obama presented in Prince George's County last year focused on students in three of Prince George's County Public Schools career academies in the fields of  health and bio-science and information technology.   There was also great interest in the Arts and Humanities Council presentation on the importance of building up an arts community within each local jurisdiction.

"Arts and economic development can go hand in hand," said Rhonda Dallas, Executive Director of the Prince George's Arts and Humanities Council. "Public art can be transformative, as with a gateway community, or it can engage the small business community by messaging and branding.  But having a cultural plan for a community needs to start at the municipal level and then bubble up.  We have partnered with the Economic Development Corporation on several projects in the past and are looking forward to partnering with all of you in the near future."

The team from CareFirst, who sponsored today's event, congratulated the EDC on the success of its first Municipal Appreciation Day and was extremely impressed with the program presentation and the information that was provided.

"As a sponsor and a resident of Prince George's County, I was very excited and riveted to hear about all of the positive things that the EDC is doing in the County," said Denise Dunn, State and Municipal Account Executive, CareFirst. "This is not just on a local level; it is also on a global level.  Based on what I have seen and heard, I will be sure to tell my friends who have small businesses in the County because the EDC has services that can be an excellent resource for them.  I can't wait to spread the word."

Municipal leaders concluded the forum with a discussion on how they can individually engage the services of the EDC.  There were several requests to have the EDC come to their jurisdiction and speak directly to their constituents.

"This was an amazing, phenomenal event. To bring the municipalities up to speed regarding the economic development that is going on in Prince George's County and the vision the County Executive and the EDC has to move municipalities forward is outstanding," said Councilmember Walter Ficklin, Town of Bladensburg.  "With this type of collaboration and resources available to us, I believe that in the near future we will be a County that is recognized Statewide, nationally and internationally.

For more information about EDC programs and services, go to www.pgcedc.com.