Prince George’s Co. launches program to help job seekers ages 50 and up

Prince George’s County, Maryland, is launching a new program for those ages 50 and up to help give them a boost in finding jobs.

It’s called Encore, and its goal is “to ensure that the job seekers who are 50 plus are successful, they aren’t a statistic,” said Walter Simmons, president and CEO of Employ Prince George’s.

Simmons said the program is a rebrand of a pilot effort started by the Maryland Department of Labor a couple of years ago with state grant money.

“We’re in an age of age discrimination,” Simmons said.

With the job application process shifting online in 2020, Simmons said they thought it was a good idea to use county money to start their own program.

“Not only do they have to do a job search online, they probably are going to interview virtually as well,” Simmons said.

Encore will be hiring a career consultant for the program and plans on serving 50 to 60 people per year, with free customized career counseling, occupational skills training and support.

They will also provide up to $4,000 in tuition assistance to a workforce development certificate course.

“Our economy needs skilled workers. And we don’t need age to be a discriminatory reason why our job our businesses can’t produce in a global economy,” Simmons said. “As we rebound from this recession, right, every single paycheck is going to count, every single worker is going to count. And we see this as one of the ways that Prince George’s County is going to rebound from the recession.”

The Encore program will be housed at the county’s newest location, called the American Job Center National Harbor, located in the Tanger Outlets. It’s expected to open in August.

“They’re gonna have the best, and the newest and best facilities to help them meet their employment goals,” Simmons said.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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