Officials from the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation, NASA Goddard Space Center and the U.S. Department of Labor gathered Friday in the county to hear to from a trio of Fairmount Heights High students who interned this summer at NASA and Science Systems and Applications Inc.

The Fairmont students — seniors Kayla Thompson and Joseph Ward and recent graduate Tarrod Lee, who will be attending Bowie State University this fall — were involved in projects at SSAI and NASA Goddard that solved problems surrounding new website development, malware detection and prevention, and business card process automation.

“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 Youth CareerConect Executive Vice President Pradeep 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, which embraces a deep commitment to community involvement, offers several scholarship programs for students in Prince George’s County.

“SSAI’s partnership with Prince George’s EDC continues to advance and strengthen,” said SSAI President Anoop 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.”

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 the four-year program, 2,500 students from Bladensburg, Fairmont Heights and Potomac high schools will be exposed to mentorships in the fields of information technology and healthcare.

“I appreciate the opportunity to work in the YCC program and at SSAI,” Kayla said. “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.”

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