Employ Prince George’s President Walter Simmons

NATIONAL HARBOR — Employ Prince George’s, the county’s workforce development agency, announced the construction of their new American Job Center National Harbor, which will assist job seekers in southern Prince George’s County, on Oct. 10.

It will be the first American Job Center in southern Prince George’s County, said Employ Prince George’s President & CEO Walter Simmons, and will allow residents in the area to take advantage of the current economic boom in the county.

“American Job Center National Harbor is going to be a major asset to southern Prince George’s County and the county as a whole,” Simmons said. “It is going to be a part of the entire workforce system that we have branded as the Prince George’s County American Job Center network. As our county executive states, we have to bring the government to the people, and that’s what our community network is.”

According to Simmons, the network is a combination of faith-based entities, nonprofit organizations, community service organizations and government agencies coming together to assure job seekers have the necessary skills and qualifications to be successful.

The new American Job Center will be located at Tanger Outlets at the National Harbor and is scheduled to open in January 2020. It will provide a full range of services to county residents, such as career exploration, training programs, resume preparation and workshops that will enhance job seeking skills and work readiness.

Employ Prince George’s was officially established in July 2018 and was formerly the Workforce Services Division. The nonprofit organization connects job seekers to local businesses in industries such as construction, IT, hospitality and healthcare.

They also have specific programs that target people who may especially be struggling economically, such as their Pathways to Success program, which focuses on returning citizens and those involved in the criminal justice system and the Disconnected Youth Services program, which helps those who have dropped out of high school.

Employ Prince George’s already operates an American Job Center in Largo, and the American Job Center National Harbor will offer the same services.

According to Simmons, Employ Prince George’s served 30,000 job seekers in the last year and 1,000 businesses. They have 10,000 jobs available each month. The American Job Center National Harbor will serve around 3,000 to 7,000 people with more than 200 businesses in the area.

With the number of jobs available throughout the county, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said that Prince George’s is leading Maryland in job growth.

Coined by the county executive as “the crown jewel of Maryland,” she said this is apparent by recent developments such as the Hampton Park Mall in Capitol Heights and upcoming developments in Largo and New Carrollton like the Regional Medical Center and the Metro headquarters.

“We are not only proud about what this center will do for the rest of the county, but it sure is also a wonderful opportunity here for south county; Oxon Hill, Forest Heights, Fort Washington and so many other areas that felt disconnected from the opportunities that are happening throughout the rest of the county and the workforce system,” Alsobrooks said of the American Job Center National Harbor.

She also mentioned how the job center would especially benefit high school students. While attending graduations at the end of the last school year, she noticed students in some areas of the county had more plans than others. Alsobrooks said when she asked students what they would be doing next, a significant number of students said they did not know.

With the new American Job Center’s Youth Career Connections program, it will connect with students in their junior and seniors years of high school to provide direction on where they want to go after graduation.

“Our young people really do need a place to find purpose, and we know that they will find job training, life skills and support.

“Our young people really need the support and we are so glad to be hosting this in District 8,” said Gina Anderson-Ford, public relations specialist for County Councilmember Monique Anderson-Walker (District 8).

In addition to being the first American Job Center in south county, this is also the first at a Tanger Outlet Mall out of the 2,400 American Job Centers in the country, Simmons said.

“We’re excited to get this and be able to offer it to our brand community. They certainly will appreciate the ability to be able to go to a central location and work with a qualified and trained labor force, and we’re just really excited that we’ve been able to begin a place such as this,” said Tanger Outlets General Manager Juan Carlos Linares.

In addition to the availability of services to in-school youth and out-of-school youth as well as free services to the rest of the community, Employ Prince George’s also offers a plethora of services to the businesses in which they engage.

According to Simmons, the organization has over a quarter of a million dollars that they allocate every year to incentivize businesses to hire Prince George’s County residents.

“We want them to hire people from District 8, hire people from the impact area and, on our end, we are going to ensure that they have the best residents, the best workforce that every employer has ever had so they know that the only place to find a new job seeker is from Prince George’s County,” Simmons said.

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