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More Than 200 Veterans Attend EDC Veterans Day

EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman along wth EDC Workforce Services Division Acting Director Walter Simmons greeting Veterans and Business partnersLargo, MD, August 1, 2016 - Today, more than 200 Veterans came out to the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) as they celebrated 'Veterans Day' and hosted a Veterans Jobs and Resource Fair, in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations (DLLR). The concept behind today's event was to address the issue of unemployment within the Veteran community. In Prince George's County alone, there are more than 2,700 identified unemployed Veterans. Today's Jobs and Resource Fair began with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Miss World Maryland, Tarese Taylor and kicks off the EDC's 'Operation 500' - an aggressive initiative geared toward securing high wage jobs for 500 Veterans over the next six months.

"It's Veterans Day at the EDC and we couldn't be more proud of being able to connect our brave men and women, who have served this country, with a good paying job and the resources they need to give them the dignity that they deserve," said EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman. "My team of 'Angels' have worked hard to coordinate partnerships with more than 20 local employers and resource partners to provide good jobs, training, and other resources our Veterans need. Not one of our employer business partners said 'no' when asked to participate in this important initiative. There is no excuse for a Veteran in Prince George's County to not be employed. This is how we do things in Prince George's County."

Congressman Chris Van Hollen, DLLR Assistant Secretary James Rzepkowski and Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Outreach Director Dana Hendrickson were also in attendance at the Jobs and Resource Fair and provided encouraging words for the Veterans assembled. They also praised the business community and the resource agencies for making Veterans a priority in Prince George's County.

"I want to thank our Veteran community for serving our country in a way that puts them at risk defending our freedom overseas," said Van Hollen. "Beyond thank you, we are here with the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation, the business community and our various partners on the State and federal level, working together for you just as you fought together for us."

Statistics have found that Veterans are often unaware of the support services available for them. In addition, many employers are also unaware of the available support services they can take advantage of for hiring Veterans. The Veterans Jobs and Resource Fair has provided a significant platform to generate awareness and provide training or employment opportunities for Veterans; many of whom walked away with jobs today.

"I have been to and worked at many job fairs, and this is the most informative, productive and customer-focused job fair that I have been to," said Valerie Stevenson, retired from United States Navy Aviation Electronic Technician, Desert Storm Recipient. "Companies were hiring and interviewing on the spot. Within 10 minutes of my arrival, the staff at the EDC introduced me to an employer who offered me a position and asked what needed to be done to bring me on board. I have a secondary interview on Wednesday to close the deal."

Walter Simmons, Acting Director of the EDC Workforce Services Division talked to the group about the importance of the partnerships with agencies such as DLLR, the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Vets and Easter Seals in providing jobs, housing, healthcare and education the Veteran community. He also talked about the purpose of the 'Operation 500' initiative.

"'Operation 500' not only changes the lives of our current unemployed Veterans, it can also assist transitioning military personnel as they get ready to separate from the Armed Services," said Simmons. "We are grateful to be in a position to serve those who have preserved our freedom."

Stakeholder partners that participated in today's Jobs and Resource Fair were impressed with the breadth of skills and qualifications of the Veterans.

"Everyone that we met today has excellent job qualifications," said David Ramirez, Recruiter for BF Joy, LLC, a Veteran-owned small business in Hyattsville specializing in the installation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure for the public and private sectors. "We have at least six people that we are bringing in tomorrow to talk with our hiring manager and move forward with the on-boarding process."

Other employers that came out with more than 600 current job openings to offer the Veteran community included MGM National Harbor, Reston Limousine, Lendana Construction, Dunbar Armored, CLP Resources, CVS/Caremark, Dimensions Healthcare System, Eaton Corporation, BF Joy, WMATA, Prince George's Department of Corrections, Marriott, Alban CAT, G,W. Peoples Contracting, Co., Randstad, Pepsi Beverages Co., and Ferguson Enterprises.

"As a Veteran and a recruiter, I try to pay if forward. I am grateful to be in a position to help my fellow veterans get the jobs they deserve," said Jimmy Inabinet, Army Master Sargent and H.R. Fellow for MGM National Harbor. "Today's event has been extremely rewarding. Most of my interactions are with Veterans who are in need of feedback on resume writing or job skills training. MGM has workforce diversity and business development programs that can be of great assistance to Veterans."

The EDC will host a Veterans Jobs and Resource Fair every month (except November) for the next 5 months until all Operation 500 Veterans are employed. The next Jobs and Resource Fair will be on September 12th at the EDC headquarters, 1801 McCormick Drive, Suite 140, Largo, MD.

Also place the following dates on the calendar for future Veteran Jobs and Resource Fairs: October 13th, December 5th, and January 9, 2017. To reserve your seat for the September Fair or any of the others, visit www.pgcedc.com/events or call Nicole Edwards at 301-583-4650.