(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the District’s Workforce Investment Council (WIC) has awarded $5 million in grants to support employer-led training partnerships and career coaches for District residents. The Mayor also announced that the DC Department of Employment Services (DOES) has released a Request for Application (RFA) for its $10 million Job Readiness Training Grant Program, which will assist young adults and adult residents facing multiple barriers to employment. Mayor Bowser made the announcements at the DC Infrastructure Academy (DCIA), where she highlighted her investments to expand training opportunities for District residents.
"By investing in employer-driven training programs, we can provide more residents with highly sought-after skills, while giving employers an opportunity to hire local talent with the right skillsets,” said Mayor Bowser. “We’ve seen hundreds of residents come to the DC Infrastructure Academy and get their fair shot. These programs are ultimately a win for both the employer and the employee, they get people connected to good paying jobs and careers, and now we are looking for partners who want to replicate the DCIA model at their business.”
Employer Training Partnerships
The first round of grants, totaling $1.6 million, awarded through the Employer Training Partnership Grant Program will provide training to an estimated 115 new and incumbent workers across DC’s high-demand industries. The program, created by Mayor Bowser’s $5.9 million investment, supports employers to train DC residents to earn the skills and credentials they need to access and progress in high-demand careers. In total, WIC will award grants to 8-10 employers to develop innovative training programs that help employers meet their talent needs and ensure residents have the necessary skills to succeed in high-quality positions. The Request for Application for the Employer Training Partnership Grant program was released in December 2021, and two grant award rounds will be made this year. The first application deadline was January 26, 2022, and the final application deadline will be April 15, 2022. Interested applicants can find more information on the program and other WIC funding opportunities here.
“Our goal is to ensure that District residents and employers have an accessible, navigable, and effective workforce system that supports our community’s continued economic growth and prosperity. We are excited about the opportunity to partner with employers in new and innovative ways, and to launch a program that will ensure residents are able to connect to and benefit from the many resources we offer,” said WIC Executive Director Ahnna Smith.
The Mayor’s $3.4 million investment in the Career Coach DC Grant program will support up to 5,000 DC residents annually for the next two years, as they seek to connect to education, training, and employment opportunities. Career Coaches will begin providing services later this spring and will accept clients through the WIC’s website dcworks.dc.gov, by phone, or at in-person office hours that will be provided at sites throughout the District. Free career coaching services will be available to DC residents who have not yet completed a bachelor’s degree. Residents will receive assessments, guidance, and assistance preparing for and connecting to resources to help them move into or along career pathways of their choosing.
Investments in Job Readiness Training
This week, DOES will also post the RFA for the Job Readiness Training (JRT) grant. Up to $10 million will be available for qualified service providers and DOES plans to award several grants. JRT is a vital part of the Division of State Initiative’s Project Empowerment and DC Career Connections programs. The grantee will train participants to learn about soft skills essential to their success including, but not limited to effective communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, recognizing/managing triggers, team participation, emotional intelligence, and interview etiquette. Other required program components include case management support, along with short-term subsidized work experience and unsubsidized job placement services to 2,000 District residents with barriers to employment. The programs are designed to assist young adults and adult residents facing multiple barriers to employment, such as previous incarceration, limited work experience, educational gaps, housing insecurity, and substance abuse histories get the work and life skills they need to thrive in not just a job, but a career. Once the RFA is available on DOES’ website, qualified applicants will have a month to apply.
“The DC Infrastructure Academy is a versatile and engaging hands-on learning environment for our residents. DCIA participants can change the trajectory of their communities and this city by contributing to careers in construction, green energy, and clean water,” said DOES Director, Dr. Unique Morris- Hughes. “DCIA creates a direct pipeline for communities of color and women to have the opportunity to build up this city. Our visionary leader, Mayor Muriel Bowser, is an advocate for economic growth and job opportunities for District residents. This is an exciting time for the District and DCIA is playing a role in the development and growth of the District.”
Investments in DCIA Training Programs
Mayor Bowser opened the DC Infrastructure Academy in 2018 to create a pipeline to in-demand jobs in the rapidly growing infrastructure sector. Since 2018, over 1,900 DC residents have completed a training program at DCIA. In FY22, Mayor Bowser invested an additional $5.2 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to expand DCIA programming to an additional 200 residents.
Investment in Apprenticeships
Additional funding, totaling $7.4 million, from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) will be used to expand apprenticeship opportunities in FY22. The ARPA funds account for 313 apprenticeship participants, 38 government apprenticeships, 110 youth apprenticeships, and 165 job training apprenticeships. The goals are to combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Workers and students can learn and apply practical training for in-demand careers. The programs are sponsored by employers, local labor groups, and employer associations.
Throughout #FairShot Jobs Week, Mayor Bowser is highlighting employment programs and career opportunities at DC Government. The District of Columbia’s Department of Human Resources (DCHR) is also hosting its first hiring event of 2022, “New Year, New Career Virtual Hiring Fair” on Wednesday, March 16 and Thursday, March 17. Interested participants may register for Day 1 of the virtual fair here and register for Day 2 of the virtual fair here.