More Jobs for District Residents

7/27/2013, 9:29 p.m.

As the nation remains mired in unacceptably high unemployment, any programs and initiatives that can improve the employment landscape is always welcome.

And that is doubly true in our city, which is experiencing unemployment at a rate of about 8.5 percent. Mayor Vincent Gray and his administration are to be commended for the work they’re doing to reverse the employment numbers.

The One City • One Hire program is one that is drawing on innovation and best practices not just to put District residents back to work but also to give the hardcore unemployed the tools they need to reenter the workforce.

Gray announced Monday that the city has just been awarded a $416,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant will finance the District’s efforts to provide re-employment services to people receiving extended unemployment insurance benefits. It provides the D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) the funds to make targeted adults and young people more job-ready, offer them more training referrals and allow staff to conduct labor-market assessments which evaluate and match residents’ skills with current market demands.

While the economic-research firm POLICOM named D.C. the strongest economy in the United States, Harvard University selected us to receive a Bright Idea Award for our One City • One Hire program and cranes and new construction dot the city, city residents, especially those living east of the Anacostia River have been hardest hit by the lingering recession. The need for jobs is real.

This latest development should go a long way toward linking qualified residents with much-needed jobs and so we look forward to the program bearing much fruit.