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Youth CareerConnect Students Pioneer New Frontiers With Summer Internship

(Kayla Thompson, Fairmont High School Senior and YCC Intern at Science Systems and Applications, Inc. (SSAI) describes her Business Automation process to SSAI President Anoop Metha and representatives from NASA Goddard Space Center during YCC Summer Youth Employment Finale at SSAI)Lanham, MD, August 12, 2016 - Today, Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Executive Vice President Pradeep Ganguly attended the Youth CareerConnect (YCC) Summer Employment Internship Finale from Science Systems and Applications, Inc. (SSAI). The President of SSAI, Anoop Metha, along with key officials from the NASA Goddard Space Center, and the Technical Assistant "TA" Coach from the U.S. Department of Labor came out hear to from the three students from Fairmont Heights High School that interned with SSAI and NASA Goddard this summer. The students are Tarrod Lee, a Fairmont Heights graduate who will be attending Bowie State University this fall, Kayla Thompson and Joseph Ward will be entering the 12th grade this fall.

"On behalf of County Executive Rushern Baker and EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman, we are very grateful to NASA Goddard and SSAI for the economic impact they have on Prince George's County; not only with the Youth CareerConnect Program, but also with the partnerships they have formed with neighboring high schools," said Ganguly. "The skills and innovations that the students have learned from being here, can literally change a life. These students may someday become the scientists that will help determine new sciences and the global events that determine how we live and how we grow."

SSAI is a Prince George's County based company that has grown from a one-person operation to an organization employing more than 700 full time employees across the county. Recognized as one of the leading providers of scientific research and development, engineering, and information analytic services across the range of Earth and space science disciplines, SSAI also have a deep commitment to community involvement and has several scholarship programs for students in Prince George's County.

"SSAI's partnership with Prince George's EDC continues to advance and strengthen," said Metha. "It's wonderful to see that EDC is not only focused on building sustainable business environment but also focused on building a pipeline for future workforce. It was gratifying to see how well our interns performed and how passionate they were in learning new skills. We believe all of us benefited from this experience and exceeded the goals and objectives of the YCC program."

"We are extremely proud of our YCC interns," said Yolanda Tully, EDC Youth CareerConnect Program Director. "We have witnessed their achievements and how they will benefit the efficiency of SSAI in the very near future. We are excited about their success and their future."

The Youth CareerConnect Initiative is a program funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in collaboration with the Department of Education and administered locally through the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation to strengthen America's talent pipeline. Over the course of this 4-year program, 2500 students from Bladensburg High School, Fairmont Heights High School and Potomac High School will be exposed to mentorships in the fields of information technology and healthcare.

"Having these interns this summer has been a tremendous value to us," said Stephen Cohen, Contracting Officers Representative at NASA Goddard Space Center. "Their work has been truly impressive and I'm sure is going to grow even more impressive in the future. I would love for them to work with us again next summer."

Students who were part of the YCC summer program, which placed a total of 142 students in internships around the County at companies such as CVS, PEPCO, SGT, Doctor's Community Hospital, and Dimensions Health Care System, were involved in projects at SSAI and NASA Goddard that solved problems such as new website development, malware detection and prevention, and business card process automation. With hands on experience and minimal guidance, students presented their solutions using SharePoint technology and Nintex platforms that representatives from NASA Goddard and SSAI are planning to implement soon.

"I appreciate the opportunity to work in the YCC program and at SSAI," said Kayla Thompson, Senior at Fairmont Heights High School. "It has allowed me to learn how to interact with other people in the business world and helped me see what it is like to be a leader on a big project."

Students were also able to use their inquisitive minds and learn how to manage the challenges that can develop between a work and life balance.

"I'm extremely proud of Kayla's attention to quality when producing for SSAI," said Mrs. Thompson (Kayla's Mom). "She has truly proved herself to be a leader. I appreciate the opportunity for this program to allow her to enter the workforce, but it has also taught her balance. Every kid doesn't have the opportunity to make this their first work experience."

Companies interested in partnering with the Prince George's County Youth CareerConnect Program for summer job opportunities, internships or mentoring contact Yolanda Tully, YCC Program Director at 301-618-8400 or yttully@co.pg.md.us.