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Posts about Unemployment


After two decades in jail, returning to society is no small feat

On Wednesday morning, I met a guy named Mike while walking down the street in Shaw. Our short interaction opened my eyes to a number of obstacles, both personal and institutional, that stand between leaving prison and entering back into society.

Job application image from Shutterstock.

As a conversation starter, he flagged me down to ask me where I got my sport jacket. "Actually, it's from a local DC company, Hugh & Crye. They're down in Navy Yard by the baseball stadium."

"Man, I don't know where anything is now. I just got outa jail yesterday. Been in for 22 years and everything looks different now. Hugh & Crye. Do you know if they have any jobs?"

From there, he told me how he's been up since 6 am going around to grocery stores and other businesses putting in job applications, and has been staying at a friend's place since he's, as he put it, "basically homeless." He went on to tell me that he's hungry but didn't have any money to get anything, and asked if I'd help him get something to eat.

Now, I gotta be honest, in situations like these where I'm confronted by someone who I don't know asking for something, most of the time I say "not today" or "I don't have anything on me, sorry" and walk away. So this isn't some "I'm so great post." And to be honest again, my first response when he told me he was a returning citizen looking for a job was "I bet there are organizations out there who can help out", not "let me see what I personally can do to help."

But there we were, on my street corner, me with a little unscheduled time and Mike looking for help. Me with a smart phone and a nice jacket and resources. Mike, a really nice guy who clearly just needed someone to pay attention. Mike with no phone, but an email address he could use from a friend's computer.

"How about this. I'll give you my phone number and email address, but I don't have a pen and paper on me, but I bet they have some at the coffee shop down the street. And we can pick up a sandwich or something there, too."

So we walked down to Compass Coffee. On the way, I paused to tweet out asking for recommended organizations, people, and entities that might be able to help a guy like Mike.

When we got to Compass, I picked up on the fact that he didn't think he should come inside but brushed that off because, well, why shouldn't he? He was going to be a customer.

Maybe it was my ignorance, but nothing in there seemed that recognizable (understandable after so long in incarceration), so he opted not to get anything. But I was able to get my contact info to him, and upon rechecking Twitter, saw a bunch of tweets and private messages offering up organizations, agencies, and direct contacts who might be helpful resources for Mike.

Of course, me spouting off a list to someone without a phone and without much in the way of internet resources wasn't going to be all that helpful. Earlier he had mentioned that he didn't have any money to put on his Smart Trip to get around to look for jobs or to go to the appropriate agencies to get his birth certificate and social security card, which he needs for almost anything post-incarceration (I had no idea this might even be an issue before he brought it up, but making sure returning citizens have those before being released would be so helpful). So we started walking toward the Metro and I got on the phone with DC Central Kitchen and the Mayor's Office on Returning Citizen Affairs.

A little pause—one thing that got to me during this whole interaction was the fact that this guy had been in jail for so long, so it was like being in a different city and different era entirely. When I started instinctively starting the Smart Trip process, he stopped me to ask a question and I realized that even something like adding money to a Smart Trip was something he was learning for the first time.

Anyway, I had great conversations with both DC Central Kitchen and the returning citizens office, both of which were amenable to helping. DC Central Kitchen even set up an appointment for Mike to come in to learn about their programs and resources.

We were just getting ready to head down to the Department of Health to pick up a copy of his birth certificate, when he realized he had to get to another interview down in Navy Yard for a maintenance job that he applied for yesterday. So we quickly went up to the Shaw Library to write down the info for the DCCK appointment, then parted ways.

I hope Mike gets back in touch with me, mostly because I know there are even more resources I can connect him with (thanks everyone for the Twitter response!). I know he has limited options for doing so, and it sounds like he has a supportive supervision officer who is helping manage his return to society. I don't know what he did, but he said because he had gotten a life sentence (not sure the circumstances of his release) that he was going to have supervision at various levels for the rest of his life, too.

The reason I wanted to share this isn't because I did anything spectacular, but because in just 30 minutes I learned an incredible amount (I was starting from zero) about what it might be like to be a returning citizen, about the resources that are out there, and about what might make for a more supportive release environment for returning citizens. In 30 minutes. And I'm sure I still barely know anything.

As someone who is pretty interested in DC and figuring out what could be done better and about the experiences of all kinds of people and organizations and businesses, even those 30 minutes helped expand my world a little bit. I hope this is a little window for any of you who are interested as well.

If you're interested in working with returning citizens as a mentor, please email at the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. Also, a version of this post originally ran on the author's Facebook page.


DC job assistance claims take credit for federal program

Last December, Mayor Vincent Gray announced that a centerpiece of his administration, One City One Hire, had helped over 5,100 unemployed DC residents find jobs. According to a former official at the Department of Employment Services, this figure includes every DC resident hired under the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit program.

Photo by khalilshah on Flickr.

A One City One Hire briefing document that was presented to the mayor last December shows that 30% of the 5,100 hires were made through this federal program.

Officials from the Department of Employment Services (DOES) say that it is fair to take credit for these hires, because they are educating employers on the availability of the federal tax credit. However, a spokesperson for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, whose Hire One Atlanta program was the model for Gray's initiative, said they do not include all hires made with federal tax credits in their metrics.

One City One Hire metrics are important

One City One Hire is a initiative of DOES that matches work ready DC residents with jobs.

DOES encourages unemployed DC residents to enter their resume into the One City One Hire web site. DOES staff then proactively engage "hiring partners" to consider qualified applicants from their system while informing them of available hiring credits.

The program makes sense, as I explained last year while praising Gray for One City One Hire. Often employers don't consider unemployed DC job applicants because of stereotypes about their work readiness. It makes sense for DOES to step in and vouch for truly work-ready DC residents.

Furthermore, Gray set a goal for DOES to place 10,000 jobless DC residents into jobs through One City One Hire. Achieving that goal would make a real dent in DC's jobless crisis, which exceeds 20% unemployment in parts of the city east of the Anacostia River.

Relying only on matching work-ready individuals with jobs would likely be insufficient to reach this goal. As a result, reaching this goal would require reform of DC's workforce development system that removes barriers to employment for those who are not work-ready.

A former DOES official, different from the former DOES official who provided the One City One Hire briefing document, provided documents previously to Greater Greater Washington that show that few job seekers are getting the intensive services they need from DOES to become work-ready.

DC claiming credit for federal program, Atlanta is not

By allowing One City One Hire to claim credit for hires by employers with whom DOES has no relationship, however, the Gray Administration is more likely to achieve it's goal of 10,000 hires without making a significant dent in unemployment or reforming DC's workforce development system.

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a credit that employers receive on their federal payroll taxes when they hire certain classes of individuals. Unemployed veterans, unemployed ex-convicts and long-term welfare recipients are included in the program.

The Washington City Paper first reported in January that a senior DOES official claimed many of the hires attributed to One City One Hire were simply hires that resulted in a WOTC tax credit. The official said at the time, "These programs are doing the same things and getting the same results."

Mayoral spokesperson Pedro Ribeiro defended claiming credit for these hires because WOTC "is a tool that states use." Through One City One Hire "we use tax credits, reimbursements, and all kinds of other tools to get folks employed."

According to interim DOES Chief of Staff Liz DeBarros, "When we came into office, there was a 2½ year backlog in processing WOTC requests through DOES" and there was insufficient "education of employers that it was available." DOES under the Gray administration is now educating employers on WOTC and processing requests more quickly.

She said that it's fair, as a result, to claim credit for all hires that resulted in a WOTC tax credit for the employer.

Atlanta Mayoral spokesperson Reese McCranie, however, said that the Hire One Atlanta program on which One City One Hire was modeled does not include all hires that resulted in a WOTC tax credit for the employer.

Employers who partner with the City of Atlanta self-report their hires of unemployed Atlanta residents to Hire One Atlanta, and the Society for Human Resource Professionals provides 3rd party validation of the hires.

Mayor Gray has been criticized for announcing more goals - around sustainability, economic development, education - than accomplishments. Greater Greater Washington contributors have defended the mayor's practice of setting goals, because goals matter. They allow for accountability that leads to reform.

But that assumes that the metrics used by the Gray Administration are fair and measure what everyone assumes they are measuring. But that's not always happening.

Gray set a goal of universal pre-k availability, for example, but then permitted a formula for calculating availability that will always show universal availability. One City One Hire is also using a metric that is biased in favor of showing progress towards the goal of the program.

Goals matter, but only if the metrics are fair. That's why the Gray Administration should be explicit about how it measures progress towards each of its goals.


Few job seekers get the intensive training they need

Large numbers of DC's jobless residents are going to the city's One-Stop Centers for employment assistance, but very few actually receive the intensive services that they will need to compete for jobs, say internal workforce training documents obtained by Greater Greater Washington.

Image by Intersection Consulting on Flickr.

In order to get job training from the DC government, one has to request training at a One-Stop center run by the Department of Employment Services (DOES).

A former DOES manager sent along a training manual which highlights a problem in the job training system: job seekers have to pass through many administrative steps to get services, but high attrition rates at each stage mean that few ultimately get services like literacy training or skill development.

While unemployment in the Washington region is relatively low, in low-income parts of DC such as Ward 8 it exceeds 20%. Given that only 28% of jobs in DC are held by DC residents, high unemployment of DC residents is generally attributed to obstacles to employment like lack of literacy and job skills.

Allison Gerber, executive director of the Workforce Investment Council (WIC) which has oversight of services of One-Stops, reacted to the numbers. "Assuming these numbers are correct," she said, "they are very similar to the gaps that the WIC found in the last program year."

DOES Director Lisa Mallory disavows the numbers in the training manual, saying they were pulled by a previous Associate Director for Workforce Development, Dr James Moore, and are "incorrect." Mallory referred to "coding" issues, and said that the number of services provided like occupational and GED training were actually much higher.

Mallory agreed, however, that attrition is a central problem in the delivery of workforce development services, and said her investment in training to address this problem demonstrates that she is tackling the problem by transforming DOES.

What happens when jobless residents approach DC for help?

15,781 adults approached DOES One-Stops over the last Program Year (July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012) requesting help with employment. Assuming these were all DC residents, that would be about 30% of the roughly 50,000 unemployed DC residents.

The figures in the report suggest that most are receiving basic services, such as use of a computer to look for jobs or resume assistance. DOES refers to such basic services as "core services," and refers to services like literacy, adult education and occupational training as "intensive services."

Of the 6,352 enrolled in core services, 4,004 received "initial assessments," 3,919 received "resume assistance services" and 3,594 received "referrals to workshops." 2,284 get referred to intensive services, but of these, only 21% (477) actually enroll in intensive services.

Among the 477, 430 express interest in occupational training. The One-Stops approve 77% (322) of these requests, and forward their application packets to the Office of Program Performance Monitoring (OPPM) in DOES. But OPPM only approves 32% of these (104) for training, a $4,000 Individual Training Account (ITA) program funded by the federal government and DC government.

The consultant DOES commissioned to train their management, Greg Newton Associates, identifies this attrition problem in the training manual as low "conversion ratios" and then asks the question, "What needs to be improved?"

Few residents receive literacy training or evaluations

The manual also shows a low percentage of job seekers at the One Stops receive literacy or adult education services. More than 80,000 DC residents, making up 19% of adults, lack basic literacy. Approximately 55,000 lack a high school diploma.

The unemployment rate for residents without a high school diploma or GED is 19%. However, less than 1% (33) of the unemployed enrolled in the core services of DC One-Stops (6,352) receive literacy or adult education services.

In fact, only 6% (379) of the 6,352 unemployed enrolled in core services are even tested for lack of literacy and numeracy skills.

Mallory challenged these numbers as well, claiming that "we had about 200 individuals referred for GED training."

Why is the attrition rate so high?

There appears to be a high attrition rate in two places: first, in the One Stop, and second, where the Office of Program Performance Management evaluates job training requests after a One Stop approves a request.

Attrition within the One-Stops is sometimes blamed on the jobless residents. In an interview last year, former director of the DOES One-Stops Hugh Bailey said that "One-Stop staff are not case managers. Lots of people come into the One-Stop and expect to leave with a job."

"All we can do is give them the tools to find a job," said Bailey, "but we aren't case managers."

However, the Newton manual pointed to strict adherence to a wasteful process as the cause of low One-Stop "conversion rates." The manual called for DOES staff to transform into lean providers of services that meet all customers where they are at.

OPPM approves less than a third of job training requests

The workforce development community has worried for years about the low percentage of job training requests DOES approves, even after they go through a first stage of approval at the One-Stop centers. The training manual says that only 32% of requests get the go-ahead from OPPM.

An annual report of DC's workforce development efforts sent to the federal Department of Labor last year admits to "internal delays in transitioning participants into training services."

An October 2008 report by Callahan Consultants observed that "the process itself—which includes required return visits to the One-Stop for eligibility determination, for testing, and for submission of vendor acceptance letter, etc is being used as a screening mechanism to ensure clients are truly motivated to go into training."

Marina Strewnewski, executive director of the DC Jobs Coalition, a coalition of job training providers, says that her members report an average of 90 days waiting for DOES to approve training requests. According to Strewnewski, "this absolutely discourages unemployed job seekers, who eventually disengage from the DOES process out of frustration."

Director Mallory asserted, however, that "OPPM is not an impediment" to delivering training services. Mallory pointed to several "factors that may play a role in delaying the the approval of the training request."

These included:

  • "lack of certification documentation (proof of residency, Social Security Numbers, Citizenship, etc.),"
  • "Provider unable to start classes due to not enough customers approved for the program to schedule a class," and
  • "Customer undecided and/or loss of interest."
Officials are trying to streamline the process

Gerber, of the Workforce Investment Council, explained that the WIC has been pursuing a "one-stop certification process" that would establish policies and procedures focusing on delivering services that jobless residents need to be work ready instead of focusing on paperwork.

Gerber stressed that this is a collaborative effort with DOES, and the multiple working groups with DOES management have made good progress. Once the certification process is in place, the WIC could then de-certify One-Stops that fall short of the new standards.

Delivering more core services, focusing on matching work-ready customers with a job, is an achievement for which DOES deserves much credit. The improvement in these services reflects the investment in One City One Hire, which matches jobless DC residents with job openings.

However, our focus on job matching must also go hand in hand with a focus on work readiness, given the tremendous mismatch between jobs in the DC area and the skills of jobless DC residents.


Privatize DC's One-Stop Career Centers

On Wednesday, residents testified before the DC Council about the performance of the Department of Employment Services. This is my testimony.

I am an editor at Greater Greater Washington and resident of Georgetown with my wife and son. I am a supporter, like all Greater Greater Washington contributors, of the tremendous investments being made in transit, parks and economic development that are creating a more liveable, walkable city.

Mayor Gray and DOES Director Mallory. Image from DOES.

I am, however, equally concerned that these invest­ments will end up on the ash heap of history as just another urban renewal that displaces the poor out of sight and out of mind, to be somebody else's problem, an injustice actively perpetrated by us all.

Privatizing the One-Stop Career Centers would improve our ability to move forward as one city. That's because One-Stop privatization would unleash the type of innovation to address joblessness that we have have seen with charter schools addressing childrens' education.

While there is an enormous investment in and attention being given to our first chance system—our public schools—our second chance system has received far less attention until very recently.

Our second chance system is our workforce development system that helps people get back up when they've been knocked down—knocked down by changes in labor markets both private and public, knocked down by addiction, knocked down by employers who can't look past one's employment status, criminal record and address or lack of one.

Until our second chance system receives the same investment and accountability as our first chance system, one knockdown will put you out in a city that is increasingly expensive to live in.

The main thing that is working in our second chance system is the Mayor's initiative to put qualified, prescreened applicants in front of employers known as One City One Hire. It's an apt name for the program, because it addresses the lack of trust that many employers have had in unemployed job applicants that hail from a certain part of the city.

Job training providers all work to build this trust on the part of employers in their own clients, and it's wonderful to see the Mayor and Director Lisa Mallory stepping into the gap to build this trust.

The risk, with One City One Hire, is that the next mayor will not give it the same investment and focus. For that reason, it is critical that Director Mallory operationalize One City One Hire into the daily functioning of DOES (Department of Employment Services), and that requires being more publicly transparent about the funding and operations of One City One Hire.

After all, One City One Hire is essentially doing what the Business Services Group of DOES was supposed to be doing all along. It would be helpful to know, for example, what employees work on One City One Hire, how are they organized, and what has been codified from a process and metrics perspective.

Director Mallory and Mayor Gray deserve a good amount of praise for what they have accomplished in One City One Hire, praise that pundits looking for scandal have been uninterested in giving.

So, if One City One Hire is the main thing that is going right, what is the main thing that is going wrong?

When DC residents are without a job, they are told to go to a One Stop Center, known as DC Works. They will help you get a job and, if you have barriers to employment, they will connect you with the resources available to overcome those barriers.

But what unemployed folks usually encounter when they muster the dignity to step into a One-Stop Center and ask for help is a 5-10 stop center that treats them with the indignity that we all suffered at DMVs in the 1990s.

This isn't my assessment. This is the unequivocal assessment of report after report. The Review of the District's One-Stop Service System prepared by Callahan Consultants in 2008, a report by Appleseed in 2008, a report by the D.C. Jobs Council in 2007, a report by Wider Opportunities for Women in 2004, and a report by the D.C. Jobs Council in 2001.

In the most recent report from Callahan Consultants in 2008, we learn that orientation classes are held the first two days of each week, and if customers walk in on any other day or after the orientation has started, they are turned away and told to come back for the next class. No one-on-one orientation was observed.

When customers do make it through the orientation class, they are sent to a computer to look up jobs or training options. If they have obstacles to employment, such as child care, they are sent to other offices like DHS to find available resources. That doesn't sound like one stop to me.

If customers do find a training course that suits them, they apply for ITA funding for the course. If they do not have an 8th grade educational level, they are rejected right away, and referred to an educational provider. The report says the one stop, "does not continue to track these clients, and given the lack of intensive basic and remedial education resources these clients are often lost".

If they do qualify for the class, they then wait for an average of 45 days for the funding to be approved. Keep in mind, that all training providers' courses have already been approved by DOES.

The report says that "the process itself, which includes required return visits for eligibility determination, for testing, and for submission of a vendor acceptance letter, etc, is being used as a screening mechanism" that "could be characterized as a 'creaming' processÖto ensure achieving federal performance standards".

Now, Director Mallory is committed to reforming the One-Stops. I think that her reform efforts would only be buttressed by an initiative to charter private one-stop centers, run by private sector organizations, and held to new, strict performance requirements that would apply to all one-stop centers.

Many states outsource all of their one-stop centers to private sector organizations. Just like we have competition between service providers of our first chance system, our traditional and charter public schools, I believe we should have competition between service providers of our second chance system.

Both public and privately chartered one-stops must track the employment status over 6 months, 1 year and 2 years of everyone who walks in the door. As it is, when Callahan Consultants asked in 2008 for the sign-in logs for the past month, the One Stops were unable to provide them.

While private one-stop centers would be an initiative of the Workforce Investment Council which certifies One-Stop Centers, it's important that DOES and Chairman Michael Brown support the initiative. The public employees union will likely fight any such privatization.

Thank you for listening to my testimony, and for your efforts on behalf of the unemployed in our city.


Gray deserves more credit for One City One Hire

The rap on Vincent Gray as a mayor too distracted by scandal to accomplish much overlooks one major accomplishment. Gray has made more progress addressing chronic unemployment in his first year than have any of his predecessors in their entire terms.

Photo by thisisbossi on Flickr.

Mayor Gray's One City One Hire campaign is directly responsible for the hiring of 1,400 previously jobless District residents. While this accomplishment has received little notice, for these 1,400 families Mayor Gray has moved mountains in his first year in office.

Perhaps the criticism of Gray as unaccomplished reveals more about the lack of interest in policies to address crisis-level unemployment on the part of DC's political class than it does about Mayor Gray.

Politicians often release estimates of jobs they created, and perhaps cynicism around such estimates explains the lack of credit given to One City One Hire for the hiring of 1,400 jobless residents.

The difference here is that the leader of One City One Hire, Director of Employment Services Lisa Mallory, actually knows who these 1,400 people are. She knows who they are because her staff personally introduced them to their current employers.

Understanding One City One Hire requires understanding that one of the biggest barriers to employment in DC has nothing to do with skills, criminal records or addiction issues. A major barrier to employment is the lack of trust by local employers in jobless residents, particularly those east of the Anacostia River.

While this barrier is not often mentioned by the local media, any job training provider can attest to its reality, and the discouraging effect it has on District residents who are otherwise job-ready.

Chris Hart-Wright, Executive Director of Strive DC which works with chronically unemployed District residents, says she spends much of her time seeking to build trust on the part of local employers in her clients. She says that all training providers are doing the same thing, and that they need the city to use its influence to play this role so they can focus on training and case management.

That's what One City One Hire is all about. Run by the Business Services Group within the Department of Employment Services (DOES), One City One Hire asks local employers if they will consider a small number of resumes pre-screened by DOES for their open positions.

Director Mallory has transferred DOES employees into the operation of working with employers to understand the requirements of particular positions and evaluating thousands of resumes of jobless DC residents to fill those positions.

Now, overcoming the trust gap between local employers and jobless DC residents is only one of several difficult steps that need to be taken to address chronic unemployment. But the success of Gray and Mallory in conquering this first barrier raises hopes that they will live up to their promises on other barriers to employment.

First, Mallory has committed to transforming the One-Stop Centers that are responsible for empowering jobless residents with access to training, transportation and child care benefits, and other resources needed to get a job. This is no small task, as these centers have historically been more like DMV centers in the 1990s.

It will require strong leadership in each One-Stop, implementation of a uniform assessment process so that employees are trained in uncovering and addressing barriers to employment, and tight coordination with agencies like DHS that can address barriers like transportation and child care.

If this transformation doesn't occur, then the body that oversees One-Stop funding, the Workforce Investment Council, could conceivably pull all funding from DOES and contract with a private agency to run One-Stops.

Second, Mallory has committed to providing data on jobless residents who enter One-Stop Centers that would provide the first ever profile of DC's jobless and their barriers to employment. Finally, Mallory has committed to holding training providers accountable to metrics of job placement.

These are significant challenges, but the success of Mallory and Gray in addressing the challenge of trust in jobless DC residents should give us cautious optimism they can be met.

Tackling chronic unemployment is not optional. It is essential to improving education outcomes of the 30% of District children living in poverty. It is essential to limiting gentrification and ensuring all residents benefit from the District's resurgence in recent years.

Gray deserves credit for his accomplishments thus far and greater interest in his vision for finishing the job on unemployment.


Workforce czar must bring accountability, not bureaucracy

A newly created workforce czar in DC could bring measurable reductions in unemployment if the czar and supporting workforce development agencies are held accountable to specific goals. Otherwise, the new position will become just another layer of bureaucracy, likely to be cut by a future mayor.

Photo by DC Central Kitchen on Flickr.

While parts of DC suffer from crippling unemployment levels of over 20%, only 28% of DC jobs go to DC residents. That's why the DC Council authorized the creation of a czar known as a Workforce Intermediary to better prepare the DC workforce for in-demand jobs.

The Workforce Intermediary will be tasked with coordinating dozens of training providers and city agencies to ensure the workforce needs of DC employers are met by well-trained DC residents. However, unless the Workforce Intermediary and supporting organizations are held accountable to measurable metrics of job placement, the intermediary will become just another layer of bureaucracy.

It doesn't take long to figure out that a key reason why parts of DC face high unemployment is due to lack of preparedness for DC-area jobs, not a lack of jobs. Dozens of job training providers have cropped up to address this need, and dozens of programs across 13 city agencies have been formed to help finance those training providers.

With so many chefs in the kitchen of workforce development, there is little coordination, oversight, or accountability. The DC Fiscal Policy Institute this week released a groundbreaking "resource map" that identifies all of these sources of workforce development funding across the city government, and the various non-profit training providers that receive this financing.

Councilmember Michael Brown, chair of the Workforce Development Committee of the DC Council, says that his committee staff only knew where 30% of DC job training dollars went when he took over the committee. After the past year, they know where 60% of the money goes.

The Workforce Intermediary position is intended to coordinate these training providers and funding streams with the needs of local businesses to optimize our workforce development investments. However, it's not hard to imagine this position becoming yet another layer of bureaucracy.

That's why the DC Council first charged a Workforce Intermediary Task Force to design the position. The report of the task force is due on January 15th.

If the Workforce Intermediary is to be a true change agent, reversing decades of deepening poverty in parts of our nation's capital, it is essential that measurable performance metrics be tied to the program, and to the agencies that support the Intermediary.

Three elements are critical to the creation of a successful Workforce Intermediary that is able to turn the corner on joblessness in DC.

1. Workforce Intermediary performance metrics

The Workforce Intermediary should be held accountable for the percentage of DC jobs that go to DC residents and for DC's unemployment rate. When employers are cutting jobs, more focus would be placed on the former metric, When employers are adding jobs, more focus would be placed on the latter metric.

The Workforce Intermediary will become a waste of money if it is simply a resource to job training providers and city agencies financing training providers to advise them on hiring needs of local employers.

If the Workforce Intermediary is held accountable for these metrics, then we would expect that he or she will contact local employers with prescreened resumes of DC residents for open positions. Currently, dozens of job training providers across DC have to form redundant relationships with employers, and this "hiring manager" role of the Workforce Intermediary would free training providers to train.

Not surprisingly, the Mayor, who is also held accountable for these metrics by voters at election time, is currently playing this "hiring manager" role in his One City One Hire campaign. If the Mayor is held accountable for these metrics, it makes sense that he would delegate to someone to improve them.

2. Job training provider performance metrics

Job training providers currently get access to DC government funding by getting on one of several lists of authorized training providers. No data on training outcomes is required to get on these lists or receive DC taxpayer money. This has to change, and Councilmember Michael Brown has said that it will change.

If job training providers had to demonstrate a placement rate for their clients, within 6 months and 2 years after training, they would be incentivized to work closely with the Workforce Intermediary who provides qualified resumes to local employers. After all, the Intermediary, as hiring manager for DC's unemployed trying to reduce the jobless rate, would be their lifeline to continued financing from the city.

If the Intermediary doesn't provide many resumes from their clients to employers, a natural conversation will ensue about the needs of local employers that the Intermediary doesn't believe are being met by the training provider.

3. One-Stop Center performance metrics

When DC residents want a job, they are supposed to go to a One-Stop Center. These centers, called DC Works! in the District, are federally mandated for states that receive federal workforce development dollars.

Sadly, the One-Stop Centers in DC are more like First Stop Centers, as they historically send jobless applicants to other offices depending on their needs. Or they send applicants to a computer to look at training providers on the Internet.

The current director of the DC One-Stop Centers, Hugh Bailey, acknowledges the reputation they have received and has pledged to turn them around in coming months. However, when asked what metrics the One-Stop Centers should be held accountable for, Bailey was hesitant to suggest any.

Each One-Stop Center should be held accountable to the same performance metrics as job training providers - placement rate of clients within both 6 months and 2 years of entering the One-Stop Center.

One-Stop Centers would aggressively case manage clients to improve their placement rates, and only send them to training providers with high placement rates. One-Stop Centers would naturally collaborate with the Intermediary to learn how to get more resumes of their clients placed in front of local employers.

These metrics will create a virtuous circle of coordination between the Intermediary, training providers and One-Stop Centers that will actually reduce unemployment and ensure the Intermediary places a useful, and not bureaucratic, role in workforce development.

Every mayor in DC history is known primarily for some singular goal—whether it was helping blacks enter the middle-class, improving our fiscal management, or reforming education. Mayor Gray clearly wants reducing unemployment to be his singular achievement. He can leave his mark on the city with a bold stroke of accountability as described above. Let's hope that he finds the political will to pull it off.

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