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Mayor Bowser Announces the District’s New L.E.A.P Academy to Put More Residents on the Pathway to the Middle Class

Friday, March 27, 2015

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the District’s new L.E.A.P. Academy (Learn Earn Advance Prosper), a network of interconnected partners that will train residents in growing fields and place them in jobs.

On the campaign trail, Mayor Bowser discussed establishing a Public Works Academy that would better serve residents. Today’s announcement is a delivery on that promise.

“The Academy was born from a simple idea: train District residents to serve District residents,” said Mayor Bowser. “We employ thousands of workers to maintain our buildings and keep our fleet of vehicles road-ready, now we will have our residents serve residents with first class services. The DC L.E.A.P. Academy will help to bridge the gap between unemployment and in-demand jobs, while providing a pathway to the middle class.”

By using the earn-and-learn approach, the DC L.E.A.P. Academy Phase I will train for jobs in the District Government’s in-demand areas while allowing individuals to earn wages, accumulate work experience, and obtain stackable credentials. This approach will bolster their ability to advance along a career pathway and into the middle class and fulfill Mayor Bowser’s vision to address the pervasive barrier to employment that many District residents who lack work experience face.

The D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES), which administers a myriad of workforce development programs, will utilize partnerships with private sector employers, community-based organizations, educational institutions, and fellow District Government agencies.  DOES will coordinate these partners to facilitate the establishment and continued operations of the DC L.E.A.P. Academy.

“Education and training are vital to providing unemployed and underemployed District residents, particularly those who have barriers to employment, with a path to the middle class,” said DOES Acting Director Deborah Carroll. “The DC L.E.A.P. Academy will enable us to align and leverage our resources and ongoing efforts to ensure that the District job seeker’s needs are met and that individuals can progress along clear pathways to self-sufficiency.”

The DC L.E.A.P. Academy will expand over time as more partners participate and additional training programs are developed. Launching the DC L.E.A.P. Academy will be the D.C. Departments of General Services and DOES, which will employ and train individuals in the occupations of General Building Maintenance, and Document Management and Help Desk, respectively.

Judge Mary Terrell, who served as an advisor to Mayor Bowser and a member of the Transition Team, will serve the District in a Special Advisor role at the DC L.E.A.P. Academy.

This event is part of Mayor Bowser’s Pathways to the Middle Class Tour, a week-long effort leading up to the March 31 State of the District Address to highlight ways the Administration is helping to create Pathways to the Middle Class for District residents.