I ran for office in part because I believe that we can do more to bridge the gap between those who are benefiting from the District’s economic resurgence and those who are being left behind. The Workforce Development Subcommittee consisted of a variety of experts, advocates, and business leaders who discussed how the District could better help our residents gain the skills they need to compete in our new economy. The Subcommittee identified the need for more coordination in youth programs, stronger oversight of American Job Centers, reduced barriers for adults engaged in workforce development programs, and greater coordination with the business community to ensure the city is preparing residents with the skills our economy demands today and will demand in the future.
If we expect our young people to compete in tomorrow’s economy, we must invest in them today. I intend to support our young people by advocating for the following reforms:
- Align the workforce development services provided to the District’s youth through the Department of Employment Services, the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program; and
- Expand wrap-around services provided to youth in the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program to ensure they are making significant progress toward permanent employment.
Getting Back to Work
The District spends millions of dollars a year on workforce development, yet over 23,000 District residents are unemployed. Despite our strong economy, clearly, we can do a better job connecting residents to employment. To that end, I will:
- Oversee the operation of American Job Centers to ensure that they provide quality employment services and the necessary supports for District residents to access those services;
- Monitor the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act state plan; and
- Guarantee that the District provides adequate childcare and transportation subsidies to low income adults to help them commute to workforce development programs.
Bridges to Business
Workforce development programs are only effective if they teach workers the skills they need for jobs that are actually available in the District. Too often, agencies fund training that does not provide a clear pathway to employment. In addition, the District must do a better job ensuring that businesses receiving District subsidies are employing District residents and benefiting our communities. To address these issues, I intend to:
- Utilize the Workforce Investment Council to coordinate the District’s workforce development system with the needs of District businesses;
- Oversee the First Source Employment Program to guarantee that businesses are hiring District residents;
- Review the Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s implementation of the DC Data Vault, which was designed to ensure that agencies coordinate seamlessly in workforce development services; and
- Require the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to analyze whether public investments in each development project results in acceptable increases in local employment and community amenities.