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Mayor Bowser Launches HBCU Public Service Program to Create a Career Pipeline to DC Government

Wednesday, October 18, 2023
DC Innovation Team is Making Hiring Processes More Accessible and User-Friendly

(Washington, DC) – Today, at Bloomberg CityLab 2023, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the District is launching a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Public Service Program in partnership with Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). These two District-based HBCUs offer a world-class education to students, and the partnership will allow DC Government to create a pipeline for senior students to pursue a role in public service. The Mayor further announced innovations in District Government hiring processes that are happening through DC’s Innovation Team (i-team). 
“We want the best and the brightest, the people who are passionate about our community, to work at DC Government. The HBCU Public Service Program will keep talent in DC and bring young leaders into DC Government,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know that people, including many of our university students, come to DC and stay in DC because they want to change the world. We want people to know that they can change the world, one person, one program, and one community at a time, in DC Government.”

Through the HBCU Public Service Program, which will go open early next year, DC Government will work with highly talented and qualified graduating seniors to help launch their career. The program will be open for one-year to graduating seniors who are earning a bachelor’s degree. Participating DC Government agencies will convert existing and due-to-hire full time positions into apprenticeship positions for a total of 25 apprentices.
If selected, the students will be hired as full-time employees through the one-year apprenticeship that will begin in June 2024. Participants in the program will also be able to take a professional development course at their universities that will be led by the District Department of Employment Services (DOES). After successful completion of the program, participants will be eligible to increase to step 3 status within DC Government. Participants must maintain District residency while part of the program and once they increase to a step 3. 
Apprenticeships provide a unique level of access and opportunity to participants. There are more than 320 apprenticeship sponsors (employers and trade unions) registered with the District. They provide apprenticeship training to more than 850 District residents across all eight wards. Last year, as part of the District’s investment into strengthening local youth apprenticeship programs, DOES granted high quality, structured, and innovative registered apprenticeship programs funds to develop, implement and/or expand existing or new youth apprenticeship programs supported by the U.S. Department of Labor as part of over $11.67 million in awards.
Since 2021, the i-team has been working to actively address the challenge of building a skilled workforce, especially for hard-to-fill positions. The i-team is working to modernize the hiring process for District Government roles by making the process more accessible, user-friendly, and transparent. The i-team is currently working with an outside branding agency to design and execute a comprehensive marketing and advertising campaign to attract the District’s best and brightest into meaningful careers in public service. 
Through the work of the i-team, the District is also launching a redesign of, the website that lists open positions in most DC Government agencies. The website homepage will soon launch to be more accessible for those who are looking for specific jobs based on their specialized training and experience. There will be new tools and features for job seekers on that will make the site more user-friendly. Prior to the website redesign, the i-team gathered community input from 175 job seekers and from external and internal stakeholders to inform the strategies for innovating the District Government’s hiring processes. They also hosted listening sessions with a diverse panel of participants throughout July and August.

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