Are DC’s Workforce Development Efforts Putting Residents to Work?

January 23rd, 2013 | by Kate Coventry

With nearly one in ten DC residents out of work and a workforce development budget of $57.5 million, DC needs to know whether its efforts to put residents to work are effective.  A provision in the FY 2013 budget aims to help answer this question by requiring quarterly reporting on the outcomes of DC’s locally-funded job training and adult education programs.  This is a great first step in assessing our efforts, but a full assessment must include all of DC’s workforce development programs, including the Mayor’s One-City One-Hire initiative. 

Preparing residents for jobs is one of the key ways the District can shape its future. Effectively using resources to help DC residents learn new job skills, sharpen existing ones, and match them with employers is critical not only to economic development but to reducing unemployment, lifting families out of poverty, and lessening  income inequality. 

But in the past, the performance measures for the District’s workforce development programs did little to tell whether the city was achieving these goals.  The measures focused primarily on outputs, such as how many participants completed training, rather than on outcomes that truly measure progress, such as how many participants secured jobs. 

A provision in the FY 2013 budget addresses these inadequacies by mandating quarterly reporting to include the number of participants who secure and retain employment, among other measures.  Using the same measures for each program will show whether certain types of training lead to better employment outcomes than others.  Additionally, for programs where services are contracted out, the data will be broken down by provider, showing whether some vendors are more effective than others.  The reporting will also allow us to compare programs and vendors on costs and numbers served. 

These are very promising steps toward increasing the performance and accountability of DC’s workforce development programs.  To be most useful, the reporting should include all workforce development programs, particularly the new One-City One-Hire program.  This program acts as a matchmaker in the jobs market, helping to match workers to employers.  As a new program, stakeholders should be reviewing outcomes both to ensure that it is meeting its goals as well as to identify potential areas of improvement.  Let’s make sure DC is doing all it can to help residents secure and retain employment.

 

3 Responses to “Are DC’s Workforce Development Efforts Putting Residents to Work?”

  1. Ray Bell says:

    Unfortunately the report doesn’t outline any initiatives to address the chronically unemployed. DC refuses to admit they don’t have the expertise to address u employment among young adults and very unskilled people. My hope is that the city will one day reach out to experts with proven track records of helping chronically unemployed. When you look around the city and when you talk to people that work in the workforce development community, you’ll find that their is very little innovation. We’ve made our attempt at hopeprojectdc.org

  2. [...] Workforce development programs should be about outcomes, not outputs (DCFPI) [...]

  3. Maurice Alexander says:

    Dear Tina:

    It seems no matter how hard I try the promises of Workforce development escapes me. In 2010 I was attempting to enroll in the Community Health Care program.
    Then the office I was working through moved from Naylor Road S.E. to South Dakota Ave, N.E. and I could no longer contact the Counsel I had been working with due to the various phone number changes. When I did find counselor, her duties and responsibilities had changed.

    In 2012, I attempted to acquire a CDL truck drivers licence via the new Minnesota Avenue, N.E. office. After attending a required orientation, I was told that It would take at least 90 days before my counsel would be able to see me. In the meantime I was instructed to bring a resume, college transcrip and other documentation. The gathering of these documents and information was very time consumming.

    Some months later after complying with these requests, I returned to the Minnesota ave. office. Then I was told that the CDL Training was no longer offered. This was not very encouageing and fact I began to feel hopeless. However, It is offered in other jurisdictions with founding from Workforce development.

    I feel like the Workforce develompent program in the District sent me on a goose chase, not one time but two.
    Is it any one that could help me acquire the promised Workforce development training. I am earger to escape povery and programs promised by workforce development seems to be a way out. Could you help me realize the promise of Workforce development?