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Youth CareerConnect Youth Compete For Summer Internships And Prepare For Their Future


EDC President & CEO Jim Coleman (c) gives a pep talk to Youth CareerConnect Program students at Job FairBowie, MD, March 24, 2017 - Today was the first day of summer for several Prince George's County Youth CareerConnect Program (YCC) students.  More than 200 students filed into the Student Center at Bowie State University for an exclusive Job Fair.  Over 25 employer partners and exhibitors came out to meet and interview YCC students who are excited about getting a jumpstart on their careers.  After a rousing pep talk from Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President and CEO Jim Coleman and YCC Program Director Yolanda Tully, students were given the chance to put their interview skills to the test.
"Three years ago, former President Barack Obama delivered $7 million to County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III to create the YCC program for County youth to get a leg up in the fields of information technology and healthcare," said Coleman. "Today, Yolanda Tully and her team are changing the lives of over 700 of our youth. I'm so proud of not only her, but especially our students who are absorbing what they are being taught and putting it into practice. I'm confident that I just shook hands with future CEO's and leaders who will take our world to new heights."
Mr. Coleman served as one of the workshop facilitators' at the job fair who spoke to the students on how to 'Interview Like a Pro'. Other workshops included 'On the Job Success', 'How to go to College for Free', and a simulated Zone Triage Center pharmacy sponsored by CVS Health. 
"I am very appreciative of the YCC Program and the Economic Development Corporation Program for planning this career fair for our students," said Lateefah Durant, Officer for College and Career Readiness and Innovative Programs, Prince George's County Public Schools.  "Through the program, the students have been able to get the training that they need, interview skills, head shots, college financing and most importantly, what they need to get that summer job. I am also appreciative of Prince George's Community College and The Maryland Center at Bowie State University for hosting today's job fair and giving our student real-life experience of participating in a job fair."
Today's YCC Job Fair is the first of this magnitude for the program.  Students from Fairmont Heights, Bladensburg, Potomac and Parkdale high schools had the opportunity to meet with employer partners such as: Pepco Holdings, CVS Health, Dimensions Healthcare Systems, NASA Goddard Space Center, SSAI, and the National Institutes of Health.  This program has had many successes in just three years.  Many of the YCC graduates attend local colleges and universities such as YCC partner Bowie State University.  Misael Bonilla Escobar, a YCC Program Graduate from Fairmont Heights talked to the attendees about how the program changed his academic life and gave him real life work experience.
"The YCC program has changed me from a student with a 1.5 grade point average who didn't want to go to school or continue on a college path to becoming a freshman at Bowie State with a 3.5 grade point average," said Bonilla-Escobar.  "I learned how to apply for college, prepare for job interviews, and keep pushing for what I believe I can do.  Now I have a FEMA public trust security clearance, and look at life differently.  I'm pushing myself to be successful."
It is the mission of the YCC to cultivate home-grown talent in the STEM fields that will be ready to enter the workforce upon their high school graduation. Through the support of the YCC partners, students are provided with skills training, tutoring, mentoring, college preparation and college credits, job readiness training and work-based learning opportunities, internships and job placements.  Program Director Yolanda Tully was ecstatic over the students' progress in the program.
"We exist to serve students like Misael," said Tully. "We know that the youth in Prince George's County are the untapped intellectual talent employers are looking for. Through our partnerships, we help students gain competencies to compete in the real world."
Many of the employers were impressed at the level of preparation the students displayed during their interviews.  Several of the students were offered summer employment on the spot.  The students were well-dressed, professional, and showed they were well prepared by demonstrating their research about the companies they interviewed with.  One of the higher education partners, The Maryland Center at Bowie State University, who hosted today's job fair, expressed their pleasure in being a part of such a rewarding program.
"We are happy to partner with the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation on behalf of the Youth CareerConnect Program," said Terry Lawlah, Executive Director of the Maryland Center at Bowie State University. "I am excited for what the opportunities will mean for the students."
Students will be notified of their work assignments by April and will begin their internships in July. 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 (yttully@co.pg.md.us) or call 301-618-8439.