Early Briefing: Looking to Cuba

Virginia and Maryland trade officials, sensing winds of change in the tempestuous relationship between the United States and Cuba, are hustling to build markets for their goods in the event two countries normalize relations further.
Virginia agriculture has already benefited from the relaxation of the 47-year-old trade embargo with Cuba, increasing exports from less than $1 million dollars to $40 million in five years. Maryland has been developing farm trade in Cuba, though so far on a more modest scale. Last year, Maryland spent $6,000 on a trade mission that sewed up a $12.8 million deal on soybeans.

Karen Collins Henry, who lost her real estate job when the housing market began to collapse in 2007, says her applications for work in a variety of fields have been rejected or ignored, so she's given up looking. Last fall, she began taking computer graphics courses and is pinning her hopes on a career developing video games that help special needs students learn in the classroom.
Henry is among a growing number of unemployed people in the Washington region opting for job training, some using government funding and others getting tax credits, seeking to reinvent themselves after an often drawn-out and fruitless search for work.

By Terri Rupar  |  May 4, 2009; 7:30 AM ET  | Category:  Economy Watch , Morning Brief
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