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D.C. Mayor Gray Launches forWARD 8 Initiative

James Wright | 2/26/2014, 11:18 a.m.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, Victor L. Hoskins, the deputy mayor for Planning and Economic Development and Rosalynn Hughey, the interim ...
D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray announces Feb. 26 the launch of "forWARD 8: Investing in Our Future," a program that will award $2.5 million to support a package of District-led career-training and business-development projects for Ward 8 residents. Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, Victor L. Hoskins, the deputy mayor for Planning and Economic Development and Rosalynn Hughey, the interim director of the Office of Planning, announced Wednesday a plan to support District-led career training and business development projects for Ward 8.

The announcement took place at the chapel on the campus of St. Elizabeths East in Southeast.

The plan, "forWARD 8: Investing in Our Future," costs $2.5 million and will focus on preparing and connecting Ward 8 residents to jobs, while building skills and laying the groundwork for new business development in the community.

Gray has long championed economic development in eastern Washington.

"The forWard 8 initiative will do exactly what its name implies — move Ward 8 forward through close partnerships between District agencies and the community," the mayor said. "This initiative will help Ward 8 residents find jobs, build careers and create new businesses."

Projects who will receive forWard 8 funds are: The Demonstration Center ($1.75 million), The Center for Construction Careers ($350,000), Culinary and Entrepreneurship Training ($360,000) and the Ward 8 Business Directory ($40,000).

Hughey said that Ward 8 residents' input made the difference.

"We relied on partnership on every level to create forWARD 8," he said. "We began with what we heard from Ward 8 residents at the summits and created solutions through intense teamwork across agencies. The collaborative spirit will continue as we implement these critical steps in Ward 8 economic development."