Top Obama Official Endorses EDC Veterans Initiative

Largo, MD, September 12, 2016 – Today, the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) welcomed top Obama official Michael Michaud, Assistant Secretary for Veterans with the U.S. Department of Labor, as it deployed its second installment of ‘Operation 500’, the Veteran jobs and resource initiative geared toward securing high wage jobs for 500 Prince George’s County Veterans by January 2017. More than 30 private sector employers and resource partners participated in the Jobs and Resource Fair in which 40 Veterans walked away with solid job opportunities. Employers were excited about the amount of talent that the Prince George’s County Veteran community displayed.

“‘Operation 500’ is committed to our Veterans,” said EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman. “I have a strong belief in serving those who have served us. It is unacceptable for any Veteran who wants to work to be unemployed, particularly when there are more than $10 billion in projects in the pipeline in this County. The momentum is growing for job opportunities, and thanks to our employer partners, our Veterans are well on their way to get back to work. We are leaving no Veteran behind in Prince George’s County.”

Department of Labor Assistant Secretary Michaud kicked off today’s event by praising the EDC for collaborating with the Veteran community to decrease the unemployment rate. Michaud was impressed by the EDC’s being able to pair up businesses with those who are looking for jobs.

“I’m glad to be here this morning, and I commend Jim Coleman and Walter Simmons for their hard work in pulling together this great event specifically for Veterans,” said Michaud. “Having had the chance to speak with a number of the employers here today, they are very excited about hiring Veterans and are committed to doing so. As the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Vets, part of my job is to ensure that Veterans get into jobs. We will be partnering with the EDC’s workforce division to give them the assistance they need from the federal government. That’s what it is all about. Look forward to our partnership.”

Walter Simmons, Acting Director of the EDC Workforce Services Division told employer partners and Veterans why ‘Operation 500’ is the best solution to the Veteran unemployment issue.

“Maryland consistently ranks top in Veteran unemployment. Thanks to the vision of Jim Coleman and the support of County Executive Baker, we are going to put a stop to Veteran unemployment,” said Simmons. “If you are a veteran looking for a job, the Prince George’s One Stop Center is here to help you. If you are an employer looking for veterans and have had trouble finding them, look no further.”

Melissa Peterson, President and CEO of Blue Sky Innovative Solutions has benefitted from the EDC’s Hire Prince George’s program and was excited to participate in today’s event.

“As of a few days ago, we are officially a Prince George’s County company,” said Peterson. “We have had great time today interviewing candidates for positions we have available at Blue Sky, both at the senior and entry levels. One of the reasons we are so interested in Veterans is because they bring a wealth of experience, not only in IT and consulting, but also in leadership, which is critical. We are happy that the EDC has helped us identify people to work with internally, as well as with our clients.”

Army Veteran Carol Dew was one of the Veterans who attended the Jobs and Resource Fair and was very pleased with number of employer partners on site and the information they shared.

“Not only was I offered a position, all of the employers gave us great insight on what type of credentials we need to be successful with our job search,” said Dew. “I also learned today that the EDC will give us the skills we need if you’re eligible, and I am really looking forward to that. Today’s event was awesome.”

Clark Construction, another employer partner who has consistently recruited through the Prince George’s County Workforce Services Division, was also pleased with the quality and talent-pool of Veterans who came out today.

“It is always wonderful to partner with the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation to find professional and qualified individuals who may not always have traditional means of finding a job themselves,” said Nico Ramos, Business Manager for Clark Construction Group. “Coming to an event like this, where we can have a face-to-face conversation is beneficial for both parties. Today, we have met quite a few individuals that we will be following up with for employment. The EDC’s ‘Operation 500’ is the first Veteran targeted hiring outreach that was sponsored by a single county that we have ever seen, and I am delighted. This should be the norm for all local jurisdictions.”

Air Force Veteran Nicole Shaw was extremely excited to receive two conditional offers for employment today.

“Last week, I came to the EDC’s One Stop Career Center and they helped me with my resume and to get ready for today’s job fair,” said Shaw. “This is the first time I have ever attended one of these events. I just came in and started talking to everyone and now I have two conditional job offers. I’m very grateful for this opportunity.”

The EDC will host its next ‘Operation 500’ recruitment event on October 13th where select employers will be on site to conduct interviews and recruit veterans for open positions. This customized recruitment event will take place at EDC headquarters, 1801 McCormick Drive, Suite 140, Largo, MD 20774 from 10am to 12pm.

Follow the EDC’s LinkedIn company page at ‘Prince George’s County EDC’ to stay up-to-date on the ‘Operation 500’ initiative.