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Prince George's County Youth CareerConnect Program Graduates Accumulate More Than $3 Million In Scholarship Awards

EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman (4th from r.); Aisha Mahoney, Principal Bladensburg High School (4th from l.); Yolanda Tully, EDC YCC Program Director (c); Dr. Tasha Graves Henderson, Principal of Parkdale High School; Torrie Walker, Principal of Fairmont Heights High School (2nd from r.) along with Youth CareerConnect students and staff

Capitol Heights, MD - This afternoon, Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President and CEO Jim Coleman joined officials from the Prince George's County Public Schools and the Prince George's County Youth CareerConnect Program (YCC) in celebrating the second YCC graduating class and honoring the memory of the former principal of Parkdale High School, Ms. Tanya L. Washington. Collectively, the 85 seniors from Fairmont Heights and Bladensburg High Schools who participated in the YCC program were awarded more than $3.4 million in scholarships to attend college, an accomplishment that Mr. Coleman highlighted as an important step toward a successful future.
 
"This is a big milestone in your lives. You have gotten into some outstanding colleges and universities around this nation; an accomplishment that is not easy and I applaud you for your hard work and efforts," said Coleman.  "Moving forward, you are 100% accountable for the rest of your lives.  When we are born, we have about 79 years to live.  That's about 29,000 days. Most of you have used up about 6,000 days. The next three or four years are critical for you to make an impact,  build your skills and get your craft down so that you can go out and change the world.  There is plenty of competition out there, but you have a ton of support right here in Prince George's County and we are wishing you the best in your future success.  Now, go out there and make a difference!"
 
The EDC manages the $7 million grant the County received from the Obama Administration in 2014; a four-year STEM program for Prince George's County Public High School Career Academies.  This year the Homeland Security and Military Science/Emergency Management Academy at Parkdale High School joined Bladensburg, Potomac and Fairmont Heights, the original three high schools participating in the program. The career academies focus on health, bio-science and information technology and have over 764 students enrolled to date. Yolanda Tully, the EDC Youth CareerConnect Program Director is pleased to be working with the YCC business partners and is looking forward to the graduates making a difference in their communities and the world in the near future.
 
"We are so excited about the monumental strides we have been making with the YCC program through our co-laborers at the Prince George's County Public School System, the Prince George's Community College, the Maryland Center at Bowie State University, Hillside Works Scholarship Connection and the Latin American Youth Center," said Tully.  "This year marks our second graduating class and the completion of the third year of the program, and we couldn't be more proud.  Our students excelling with STEM IT and healthcare certifications, and we are going to keep working with these kids for the rest of their careers.  They are the untapped intellectual capital in Prince George's County.  These are undiscovered hidden figures in our County who will be future leaders in STEM."
 
Along with the certificates of completion of the YCC program, 13 graduates received the Tanya L. Washington YCC Scholarship, a competitive scholarship for YCC seniors heading to college.  The $1,500 scholarship is named in honor of former Parkdale High School principal, Tanya L. Washington, who passed away last fall. Among the scholarship recipients in attendance, one student from Fairmont Heights High School was acknowledged for accumulating more than $500,000 in scholarships from various colleges.  Miss Anne Alfa, who will be attending St. Mary's College of Maryland in the Fall credits her fortune to the YCC coaches and teachers with providing her with the skill set she needs to be successful in her future career.
 
"The YCC program gave me skills that I didn't know I would need, and taught me problem solving skills which I know that I can use in my career," said Alfa. "I was accepted into 15 schools, each of which offered me money to attend.  My goal is to become a hematologist to help people, such as myself, who have sickle cell disease and other problems with their blood."
 
Also in attendance was Torrie Walker, Principal of Fairmont Heights High School and Aisha Mahoney, Principal of Bladensburg High School who talked about how the YCC program brought structure and support to their respective Career Academies.
 
"The YCC grant has been fantastic in enhancing the work that our Career Academies have been doing for a number of years," said Mahoney. "While our program coordinators have been working with employers to locate internships and work programs, having YCC in our schools has provided a framework for students to get significant work experience that is critical for their success.  It has also taken some of the pressure off of our Academy program coordinators, as the EDC has leveraged its relationships in the business community to locate prime training and employment opportunities for our students. This will be key for the future success of our students when the grant expires."
 
Companies interested in partnering with the Prince George's County Youth CareerConnect Program for summer job opportunities, internships or mentoring should contact Yolanda Tully, YCC Program Director at 301-618-8400 or yttully@co.pg.md.us.