Performing arts and workforce development may seem strange bedfellows; but through Joe’s Movement Emporium’s Theater Tech Program (TTP) that pairing has proved to be a game changer in the lives of at-risk teens in Prince George’s County. On June 5, 2014, the program will celebrate the completion of its fifth year with a student Showcase and Graduation at the organization’s Mount Rainier facility, highlighting film, video and photographic work created throughout the year by student participants.

TTP provides students ages 16-21 with technical instruction in theater production, operation, and digital media along with critical supports such as tutoring, college exploration, and life skills coaching. This forward-looking combination gives young people life and employability skills toward a successful future. Through TTP students receive 90 hours of academic support, post-secondary exploration and work-readiness; 30 hours of in-house work experience on professional sound, lighting, photography and video equipment; and 60 hours of off-site work study training with industry professionals at organizations such as Women in Film and Video, Round House Theater and the University of Maryland.

“TTP participants come to us from very low income households with numerous challenges,” said TTP Program Director Anthony Henderson. “They may be behind in school, have excessive absences, live in a single parent household, homeless, in foster care or face other barriers to success. Our program is like a village that literally embraces these young people with one-on-one supports, mentoring and a belief in their abilities that they may have never experienced before.

TTP was created in 2008 in response to the high teen unemployment rate in Prince George’s County, MD where 74 percent of youth ages 16-19 and 36 percent of young adults’ ages 20-24 are jobless. Last year, 96 percent of TTP students completed the training AND graduated from high school bucking a countywide graduation rate of just 77 percent. Half of those went to college with the remainder pursuing military service, additional training, or full-time employment.

The TTP Showcase and Graduation will be held 5 – 7 p.m. June 5 at Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Rd., Mount Rainier, Md. For more information, contact Anthony Henderson at or visit