Cradle to Career Aims to 'Connect Dots'

Dorothy Rowley | 5/9/2012, 12:42 p.m.

"We want to maximize what's already working for a small set of children and families," Wright said. "[This will] force us to be accountable and to gain results in a data-driven way."

Wright couldn't readily state total costs and resources surrounding "Cradle" but he said approximately $350,000 - some from District coffers - has been spent to date and that a good portion has come from nonprofit partners.

Thomas Penny, the general manager of the Courtyard by Marriott Convention Center in Northwest served on the executive committee of Raise DC. He said his company stands firmly behind the project.

Penny, who started out as a dishwasher at a hotel, said Raise DC is a continuation of a partnership his company has with the District of Columbia Public School system. Penny also said the majority of Marriott associates are now in their 50s and will soon retire.

"We will need a backlog of employees to fill their slots . . . We want D.C. youths to graduate from college and assume leadership positions in the [hotel] industry," Penny said.

But Ward 5 D C. Council candidate Kathy Henderson, 58, said Gray's latest initiative will only work if efforts are sincere.

"The mayor's plan will work if we really want to educate our children [and] it's not that complicated," Henderson said. "[The District] is not lacking in funding. We're not lacking in resources. If the mayor says that we're really 'One City,' and that he has a plan for educating our children from the cradle to career, then implement it and stop playing games."