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Over 200 residents seek help from Anne Arundel job center

More than 200 Anne Arundel County residents have used services at the county's newest career center since it began operating less than two months ago, county officials said Wednesday.

Kirkland J. Murray, president and CEO of the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corp., said about two-thirds of those job seekers have found employment or been referred to job training programs. The center, Murray said at an open house Wednesday morning, is needed as the county, like communities everywhere, grapples with the recession.

The Arnold One-Stop Career Center, which opened in March in the 1400 block of Ritchie Highway, is one of seven in the county. The career center provides services to business recruiters and job seekers alike and has nine computers.

It has held a workshop for close to 40 workers laid off from Annapolis city government in a municipal cost-cutting move, provided information on applying for federal jobs and offered dozens of individual services, Murray said. The center has a staff of four.

The center was funded through a Rapid Response Grant from the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, money from the county's workforce development corporation and federal stimulus funds, Murray said.

County Executive John R. Leopold said that while the county's official unemployment rate of 7.8 percent is lower than state and national averages, the rate is probably closer to 12 percent or 13 percent because of those who are underemployed or not reported.

In the past eight months, Leopold said, the county's career centers have helped the unemployed secure about 3,300 jobs and referred hundreds of others to job training.

"A job is the single most important government program," Leopold said. "It builds families."

Darrel Stern, a corporate recruiter for Florida-based AirTran Airways, said he has worked with the county's career services staff and since February 2009 has hired 209 people to work at BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Eva Moore worked as an architect and program manager until she was laid off last year.

"My confidence was shattered," Moore said.

Moore sought help from the state-run Professional Outplacement Assistance Center and from the county-run career center in Glen Burnie. There, she said, she not only honed her interviewing skills, but gained a "life coach" in one of the workers.

Now, Moore said, she has regained her confidence and, with the help of the center, was able to take steps toward gaining the nationally renowned PMP certification for project management professionals through Anne Arundel Community College.

"I'm hoping this will give me an edge," Moore said.


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