Lightcast Case Study
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Speaking the Same Language

How Employ Prince George’s, Inc. Uses Lightcast Data to Connect with Stakeholders—and Get the Funding Residents Need

Employ Prince George's city shot

Employ Prince George's had a vision for a better Maryland

With Lightcast, they turned a dream into reality.



In funding was received for local businesses



Were served by Employ Prince George's


Local Businesses

Have been assisted by Employ Prince George's since its founding

With almost a million residents, Prince George’s County is Maryland’s second most-populous county. Its adjacency to both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. puts it in a prime spot, but for years, the county lacked a dedicated workforce development organization. Prince George’s County was also one of the slowest counties in America to rebound from the housing crisis and economic recession, meaning that these resources for both residents and businesses were desperately needed. Enter Employ Prince George’s, Inc. 

Founded in 2018 by Walter Simmons, Employ Prince George’s is a nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for Prince George’s County residents and businesses alike. It provides a variety of offerings for job seekers, including job boards, demographic programs, youth services, apprenticeship programs, and solutions for specific industry workers. Employ Prince George’s also partners with local businesses on recruitment and job fairs, so it adds value to the region whether you’re looking for a job or looking to grow your business through hiring great talent. 

But supplying all those in-demand services requires funding, and Simmons needed to find a way to communicate clearly with those who could help him get money his community needed. He would have to speak with a variety of potential sources, including procurement offices at all levels of government, public and private sector employers, trade associations, chambers of commerce, and more.

President and CEO Walter Simmons speaks about the origins of Employ Prince George's, Inc.

President and CEO Walter Simmons speaks about the origins of Employ Prince George's, Inc. video
The Problem

High unemployment and lack of training kept Prince George's County residents down

people in line for job fair prince george

When Simmons initially spoke with elected officials and others in his region, he wasn’t sure how to best talk with them about what the county’s challenges were and what his nonprofit could do to help. He had to find a way to communicate with them in a way that speaks to what the needs in Prince George’s County really are in a way that they can understand.

“I needed to figure out how to speak the language of my stakeholders,” Simmons said. “And so I really realized it's not speaking the language: you're all speaking a version of economic development and workforce development. We're just speaking different dialects. And so Lightcast became my encyclopedia.”

He also recognized that the data source that local governments rely on—the Bureau of Labor Statistics—doesn’t provide the full picture of the labor market in a region or the numbers that matter most. The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QECW) and the Jobs Report are only one piece of the puzzle of what is going on economically in the county—and what solutions might be. 

“I talk to our elected officials, and I say, ‘[QECW and the Jobs Report look] great,’” Simmons said. “‘But that doesn’t make you money because income tax is generated not where you work, but where you live. QECW is telling you the amount of workers in your county, but your residents are unemployed. My job is to work with education and human services to increase resident employment. And then we start doing the calculations of what is income tax receipt data, and then we started communicating on why this was important, and said that yes, when you look at that, we post the jobs, we train people for the jobs, we help fill the jobs, we connect the employers, so all of that investment turns into income tax.”

Simmons knew that income tax numbers were critical to making his case. Having defensible data to demonstrate how Employ Prince George’s could help increase revenue would help him win over stakeholders. 

“No matter who you are in the system—educational institutions, workforce development organizations—doesn’t matter,” Simmons said. “When you start giving them the information, now you’re talking their dialect. If a business sees you as someone that contributes to their revenue, who do you think they’re going to go to for talent pipeline?”

The Solution

Employ Prince George's built a training and development engine using Lightcast data

With a focus on reskilling, upskilling, and matching people to jobs.

Employ Prince Georege Career Center opening

Lightcast’s Developer platform provided the labor market data Simmons—and his diverse audience in the public and private sectors—required to better understand the local workforce and businesses’ hiring needs. With Developer, he could see demographic information, in-demand skills, and more through the economic overview. Data sets like Industry Info, Occupational Info, Jobs Posted, Regional Comparison, and Company Talent Pipeline were key to his argument.

“And that’s how we started communicating using the data of why workforce development and what we’re doing is not a feel-good story,” Simmons said. “This is an investment in you…So when you talk about what is the significance here, we went from zero investments and local funding into our workforce system to a normal funding source of around $6M per year and local, less-restrictive investments into our workforce system, solely because now they understand how the data relates to what they do and the investment. Again, investment. What is the return?”

Lightcast’s Developer software gave Simmons the ability to share the dialect of his stakeholders, but what Employ Prince George’s received from Lightcast wasn't only its trusted data. The region now has an ally in explaining what the numbers mean and what insights can be drawn from them to help Prince George’s County. 

“Lightcast has really been able to allow me to tell that story with a backdrop of data that is reputable,” Simmons said. “And even when people don't believe me, Lightcast has provided me with really smart people to come in and say really smart things…It's not like you're buying a product. It's a partnership.” 

With Lightcast data, Employ Prince George’s has been able to innovate and make a measurable impact in the Maryland county.

“Five years later, we've taken the Prince George's County Public Workforce System and built the first public workforce system in America that operates as a free membership network. We've increased more than double the amount of people we've served. We've quadrupled the amount of businesses we've served, and we've really created a submarine that is running top speed towards positive economic outcomes and stability of Prince George's County with the focus on the job quality, household income of our residents and ensuring that our businesses have the number one labor force in America to help them be successful.”

—Walter Simmons, President and CEO of Employ Prince George's, Inc.


Utilizing Lightcast data continues to give Prince George’s County the edge in conversations with stakeholders. Having these insights helps put Simmons’ community ahead of others who might be competing for the same funds.

“Maryland Department of Labor has something called an Earned Grant,” Simmons explains. “It’s a discretionary grant. We went from receiving zero of those funds in our county to in three years, 33% of all of those funds came to our one county out of 24 jurisdictions in Maryland. And so we started calling it, ‘Prince George’s County vs. everybody else.’”

"Lightcast, year after year, from our day one on June 4, 2018 to today, has provided us the North Star of data that is driving our strategy, driving our programs, driving our services, and driving our fiscal investments in the Prince Charter's County economy. And without Lightcast, we wouldn't have that North Star. We'd probably be lost at sea. 

But thanks to Lightcast and the team, they are providing that data North Star that is leading to our success, the success of our businesses, the success of our residents, and the success of our economy."

Walter Simmons,

President and CEO

Employ Prince George's, Inc.

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