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Mayor Gray Announces New Resources to Connect District Residents with Jobs in Growing Hospitality Sector

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mayor Gray Announces New Resources to Connect District Residents with Jobs in Growing Hospitality Sector

Groups Awarded Grants to Provide Training and Job-Placement Services

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced the award of up to $700,000 in performance-based hospitality job-training grants to DC Central Kitchen and the University of the District of Columbia Community College (UDC-CC) as part of the District’s Workforce Intermediary Pilot Project, a key component of the Mayor’s Five-Year Economic Development Strategy. With these grants, which will be administered by the District’s Workforce Investment Council (WIC), DC Central Kitchen will provide training for at least 70 District residents in culinary-arts occupations, and UDC-CC will partner with Goodwill of Greater Washington and Progressive Partners LLC to provide training for at least 70 residents for jobs in the hotel industry.

“As the newly released unemployment numbers highlight, my administration is fully committed to using every tool in our toolbox to connect District residents to jobs,” said Mayor Gray. “Adding employer-focused training and job-placement capacity aimed squarely at connecting our unemployed residents with the emerging hospitality-sector jobs we are working to create is an important investment in our workforce system. This investment will benefit District residents and businesses, and it will help us to continue driving unemployment even lower.”

The job-training grants announced today represent the second phase of the Workforce Intermediary hospitality initiative. In October, Mayor Gray announced a grant for a job-placement partner, Hospitality Connections, which will work with both employers and job-seekers to place 200 eligible District residents in hospitality-industry employment. An industry advisory committee of hotel and restaurant stakeholders will assist the WIC in overseeing the program and ensuring that program services are meeting the needs of employers in the hospitality industry.

The growth in the hospitality sector is a key component of the District’s Five-Year Economic Development Strategy. The Mayor has charged the WIC with supporting job placement and training opportunities in high-growth sectors such as hospitality and ensuring these strategies are aligned with the District’s economic-development needs. The WIC is a private-sector-led board responsible for advising the Mayor, the Council, and District government officials on the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of an integrated and effective workforce investment system. The WIC was revitalized by Mayor Gray in 2011 after years of dormancy, and has emerged as an important resource for connecting District residents to emerging employment opportunities.

“Sector-based workforce strategies such as the Workforce Intermediary are a national best practice in workforce development, and I’m pleased to fulfill the commitment made in the District’s strategic plan for workforce development to bring this model to the District of Columbia,” said Workforce Investment Council Chairman Michael Harreld. “These occupational training and job placement efforts will allow the Workforce Intermediary to strengthen the alignment between hospitality-industry stakeholders and ensure District residents have better preparation and access to employment opportunities.”

“The District’s hotels offer many high-quality job opportunities that provide well-qualified individuals with the opportunity to advance into career-track positions,” said Solomon Keene, President of the Hotel Association of Washington, DC “I’m pleased to see this investment in increasing the pipeline of DC residents who are prepared to participate in this growing industry.”

“Restaurants are a major driver in the local economy, and we look forward to partnering with the District to ensure our members have access to the skilled workforce necessary to meet their growing demand,” said Kathy E. Hollinger, President and CEO of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. “We welcome this investment in District residents who are interested in joining the growing ranks of food and beverage professionals working in this exciting industry.”

DC Central Kitchen is a non-profit organization that has provided culinary-arts training, job-readiness education, and job-placement assistance to unemployed, at-risk adults in the District for over 22 years. UDC-CC provides education and workforce-development programs that serve thousands of District residents each year. They have partnered with Goodwill of Greater Washington and Progressive Partners LLC to operate hotel occupations training programs for the last two years. Both organizations will use these funds to expand the capacity of existing programs by serving additional participants and enhancing program offerings. Each grantee is eligible to receive up to $350,000 through this grant if they successfully meet performance outcomes, which comprise 100 percent of the total grant award.

“DC Central Kitchen is excited to launch this innovative partnership with the District of Columbia, our fellow grantees, and our community's rapidly growing hospitality industry,” said Alexander Justice Moore, DC Central Kitchen’s Director of Development & Communications. “Putting our unemployed neighbors back to work requires creative, integrated approaches, and this grant will make our services more accessible and effective than ever before.”

 

“This funding will expand upon our current Hospitality Initiative and help residents of the District of Columbia obtain industry-recognized credentials,” said Dr. Calvin E. Woodland, UDC-CC’s Acting CEO. “This funding initiative provides an opportunity for the Community College Workforce program to build stronger ties with the city as it continues to open doors of opportunity to ensure a well-trained workforce.”

 

DB Grant Associates, Inc., which is operating the Hospitality Connections job-placement partner, has over 16 years of experience in the workforce-development field and sector-based employment, and has successfully placed over 1,000 job-seekers in the hospitality industry through a sector-based program in New York. They are also active in District-based job-placement efforts through the Department of Human Services’ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Employment Program, and they have extensive hospitality-industry relationships both locally and nationally. DB Grant Associates, Inc. is eligible to receive up to $840,000 through this grant if the company successfully meets performance outcomes, which comprise 70 percent of the total grant award.

 

More information about the pilot program can be found here: DC Workforce Intermediary.