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Text of Mayor Gray's 2012 'State of the District' Address

2/8/2012, 5:36 p.m.

To address this urgent need, last fall I launched the One City One Hire program, which provides pre-screening and job training, wage subsidies and tax incentives tailored to meet each employer's individual needs and asks them to hire at least one D.C. unemployed worker. The results have been very impressive. More than 440 employers have signed up to be a part of the program - and, most importantly, they've hired more than 2,000 previously unemployed D.C. residents. And today - although it remains too high - our unemployment rate in the District is falling, from 11.2% to 10.4% in just two months.

The population of our great city is growing for the first time in decades, as more and more people are attracted to the advantages of living in the District. Between 2000 and 2010 we added 30,000 people - but, in the last 16 months alone, we became the fastest-growing state in the country, adding another 17,000 residents. We are now more than 618,000 people strong - the first time the city has been home to this many people in over 25 years.And this growth shows no signs of slowing. Indeed, by 2025 it is projected that the District will be just shy of 700,000 people.

And the District is not just attractive to people looking to move here. It is attractive to investors as well. Long-stalled development projects in all parts of our city are now under construction - adding jobs and retail choices, even in parts of the city where development hasn't been seen in decades. Look across the city and you will see more than 30 cranes dotting our skyline. Through our capital-improvement plan, we are making strategic investments in public infrastructure that are leveraging more than $2.1 billion dollars in private sector investment, funding 14 major development projects under construction today - projects such as CityCenter on the site of the old convention center, CityMarket at O Street in Shaw, and the Shops at Dakota Crossing in Ward 5.

And, yes, at last, significant development is emerging east of the Anacostia River - Wal-Mart is building two stores in Ward 7, one on East Capitol Street and another in the long-awaited Skyland shopping center. And we have worked with the residents and leadership of Ward 8 to establish an economic development plan for that important - but too-long and too-often neglected - area of our city. All told, projects currently underway have created 3,000 construction jobs - and, when they are complete, will create 6,000 permanent jobs.

Moreover, another $9 billion worth of privately funded projects are in the pipeline that will add offices, housing, retail and other amenities - but, most of all, jobs. These include the Southwest Waterfront, Hine School, West End development, Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue New Communities Project, and McMillan. The District's housing market also is rebounding, and homeowners are cheering the news that once again the value of their homes is starting to rise. And we are making progress with education reform.