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Forty Under 40 Nominees Honored at First ‘Cupcake’ Charity After Hours

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MANASSAS, Va. — The regional Forty Under 40 Awards held its first nominating “Cocktails and Cupcakes” after hours event at Okras in Manassas. A dozen nominees came to have their photos taken and to mingle among other young professionals who all work in the fields of education, finance, law, media, and government.

But more than just a social hour, the event was also used to educate attendees about two community causes – the need to help local military veterans, and the finding solutions to the lack of information technology workers in Northern Virginia.

To help with the latter, the U.S. Labor Department has spent at least $12 million, and has tasked Northern Virginia Community College, in part, to help produce more skilled IT workers to fill critical job openings in our area.

“The labor market index says we need IT workers. There are over 600,000 IT jobs in Northern Virginia,” said Judith James, with the college’s Credentials to Careers Gateway Learning Community. “Between George Mason University and the big NOVA, which is the second largest community college system in the country with over 70,000 students, between the two of those institutions we’re only producing 1,200 people a year in IT.”

James distributed literature in hopes of recruiting more students to the college program.

All of the proceeds collected from ticket sales and donations taken at last night’s event went to Final Salute, Inc., an organization founded to help reduce the problem of homelessness among the U.S. vets. Director Denyse Gordon talked about the need to draw attention to the work of her non-profit organization through beauty pagent started by Final Salute, Miss Veteran America.

“When you walk in with a crowd and sash you get noticed, and someone walks up to you and says ‘wow, that’s really pretty,’ and then the conversation starts about Final Salute and the work we do” said Gordon.

An Air Force Airman, she was the first to be crowned Miss Veteran America in 2012 and now serves as the event’s director.

Potomac Local News is the media partner for the Forty Under 40 Awards. Another “Cocktails and Cupcakes” nominating after hours event is planned for Wednesday, April 23 at Bahama Breeze at Potomac Mills Mall in Woodbridge from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The House Inc. will benefit from the event.

The final nominating event will take place Wednesday, April 30, at the Embrey Mill House at the newly built Embrey Mill community from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The House, Inc., and Stafford Emergency Relief Through Volunteer Efforts (S.E.R.V.E.) will be the charities to benefit from those events, respectively.

The awards committee will continue to accept the names of nominees to be considered for the Forty Under 40 Awards until April 20, said awards committee chairman Glenn Vickers.

The final Forty Under 40 winners will be honored in May at a special event hosted at the newly built Potomac Shores neighborhood in Prince William County.

*This story has been updated

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