“We’re doing a lot of outreach for all of the major universities throughout the region and today it’s George Washington,” EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman said in an interview. “We’re looking at talking to their international students who are in the graduate program and they’re looking at the different opportunities in the region. We’re a major employer that’s focused on expanding internationally and what better way to be able to look at talent. … It gives us a chance to check them out and see if there’s a good fit.”
For 18 years, the Elliott School’s Graduate Student Career Development Office has coordinated annual employer site visits to introduce incoming graduate students to some of the most influential and reputable organizations and professionals in the field of international affairs. As part of the EDC’s efforts to bridge the gap between college students and jobs of the future in Prince George’s County, the site visit was intended to give students an in-depth view of how the corporation fulfills its mission to maintain the talent pipeline through social media and high-powered events, as well as its engagement in the international community through the county executive’s international business development plan, according to an EDC press release.
“This area is very unique simply because we’re very lucky to be so close to [Washington] D.C. which is considered the nerve center in terms of global affairs by all accounts,” said Martin Ezemma, director of internal business at the corporation. “I think it’ll be a great idea for these students to come and see, in real time, what businesses are doing, the direction they’re heading and what it is that we’re providing to create jobs here at EDC.”
Coleman said the international graduate students are another step the county is taking to build bridges to the future. Their eagerness and desire can help the corporation create more employment opportunities for residents and business owners, he said.
“They’ve got a great international development program and we’re looking forward to seeing how good these students are,” he said. “[Prince George’s] County Executive [Rushern] Baker wants to have several trade missions and mutual briefings with Korea, China, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico and Canada. So we’re ramping up and building our team out. Hopefully we can see some talent and maybe they can join us as interns or maybe long term as full-time employees.” EDC Human Resources Director Roxanne Rush and Senior Human Resources Generalist Tiffany Johnson spearheaded the site visit as part of the EDC’s effort to bring the best of the best to the county, the press release noted.
“The way to do that is to create awareness so that they know who we are and may want to come back,” Rush said. “We’re going to be doing this with other colleges in the area as well. We have a template now to use for the other schools.”
“There are a lot of exciting things going on here at the EDC,” added Johnson, a new staff member at the corporation. “I’m excited to really be a part of this whole process.”
As an international student from Beijing, China, 22-yearold Zhong “Ryan” Li said he is very excited to learn about all the international business development going on at the corporation.
Li said working with the EDC would be an ideal career because it will not only help him become a more valuable employee, but also benefit his home country in the process.
“What I learned is that there are a lot of opportunities … and how international students can find a job in the United States,” said Li, a former Gates Foundation intern who is now studying international trade and policy in his second year as a graduate student. “They have so much to do with the local agencies. I was amazed by … their [ambitious] plans in looking to do business with Korea, South Korea and South Africa which is very fit- ting for my ideal provision of the job [I’d like to have here]. I really enjoyed coming here and learning about all the good opportunities.”
For D.C. native Joan Lindo, an alumna of the George Washington Elliott School, she was impressed at how the corporation looks beyond jobs to the market and trade, something that really resonates with her as she is considering a career change, Lindo said.
“I’m greatly impressed. I didn’t know so much was going on in Prince George’s County,” Lindo said. “I like the picture they have here of overall job creation and looking toward other markets and taking diverse routes to do it whether it’s trade missions or networking events. The team of people here are ethnically diverse and they come from different backgrounds so everybody brings something to the table. I’m looking forward to see what this means for me.”
“In this country, the opportunities are limitless,” said EDC Executive Vice President Pradeep Ganguly. “What they took away from this event today is that even at the local level, there is a whole lot of business opportunity and international opportunity that exists. … This was, in my view, the most talented and diverse group of international students we’ve had here. Today, they got a good feel of what the EDC does and how the EDC is trying to make a difference not just locally, but globally.”
EDC Human Resources Director Roxanne Rush introduces herself and welcomes the group of student visitors as she is joined by a panel of other staff members.
From left is Jim Coleman, president and CEO of the corporation, speaking with the group during an information exchange as Rush and Executive Vice President Pradeep Ganguly listen before taking questions.