In the Baltimore region, and across America, job growth remains the most important issue on people’s minds. That is why job creation continues to be my number one priority in the Congress.
We have evidence that our economy is improving. It also remains painfully clear, however, that we have many more good jobs to create, both nationally and right here in our own community.
The big picture is encouraging. Despite partisan resistance, President Obama and progressive policies are succeeding in turning our economy around.
We have not forgotten that, when President Obama took office, the Bush recession was costing our economy more than 700,000 jobs each month. In response, the new president and congressional Democrats acted quickly to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
We avoided another Great Depression by cutting taxes for small businesses and 95 percent of working families, while we also provided emergency funding to support hundreds of thousands of education jobs, tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs and thousands of law enforcement positions.
Our strategy is working. Our economy now has added more than 5.4 million private sector jobs in the past 32 months – and the last 12 months have continued on this upward course.
Here in Maryland, for example, despite very real concerns about the impact of federal sequestration policies, we are in a better employment environment than many other states. In February, for example, Maryland employers added 10,500 positions.
We must all pull together to strengthen this trend – and our initiatives must be both practical and realistic.
For African Americans especially, whose rate of unemployment remains twice the national average, the job picture continues to be daunting.
That is why my office will be hosting our 16th Annual Job Fair on April 15, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., at the Fifth Regiment Armory. More information is available at our office (410-685-9199) and on the Internet (http://cummings.house.gov).
I am once again sponsoring this public service event because we have learned that we can be most helpful to job seekers by bringing them together with approximately 60 employers who are ready to hire and experts in job seeking skills. We also will be providing participants with the ability to place job applications online.
Once again, this year’s Job Fair includes “Résumé Doctor,” writing assistance and advice, Computer Café and ONE-Stop Mobile Career Centers provided by the Maryland Workforce Exchange.
We all know that good jobs continue to be scarce, especially for African Americans. That is why I invited only those employers who have confirmed that they are hiring at this time or in the very near future.
Employers participating will represent a wide range of industries - including banking, hospitality, healthcare, public safety, universities and government agencies. They have confirmed that they have approximately 500 jobs to offer.
Attendees at our April 15 Job Fair also will be offered free workshops on “Steps to Federal Employment” on using social media when searching for a job and on résumé writing and interview techniques.
“DLLR for YOU” will provide an overview of Maryland’s One-Stop Career Centers, services for veterans, and opportunities for apprenticeship programs – along with helpful information about unemployment benefits. We also will have a workshop to provide helpful employment information for ex-offenders.
More than our free, once-a-year, opportunity will be required to reverse the still-desperate employment picture in our community.
This is why, back during the Clinton years, I worked so hard to support the creation of “One-Stop Career Centers,” initiatives that President Obama has continued to fund.
So, if you know anyone who is looking for a job - or for a better position - bring them to our event on Monday, April 15 (please bring photo identification to gain entrance to the armory).
Urge them to utilize our City’s One-Stop Career Centers, 1100 N. Eutaw Street (410-767-2148), 3001 E. Madison Street (410-396-9030), and Mondawmin Mall (410-523-1060).
Baltimore County and Howard County residents can find the same help at 7930 Eastern Boulevard (410-288-9050 ext. 424), 11101 McCormick Road (410- 887-7940), or 7161 Columbia Gateway Drive (410-290-2600).
Congressman Elijah Cummings represents Maryland’s Seventh Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.