(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced a $6 million investment in the District’s workforce development and violence prevention efforts. The funding will support the DC Infrastructure Academy, which provides DC residents a pipeline to in-demand infrastructure jobs, and the Cure the Streets program, the Attorney General’s violence interruption program.
“We know that breaking cycles of violence requires more than just law enforcement,” said Mayor Bowser. “These investments recognize that as a government and as a community, we must stay focused on how we connect more Washingtonians to good-paying jobs and careers, how we prevent violence before it happens, and how we expand opportunity so that every person in our city feels a strong sense of hope, purpose, and dignity.”
In 2018, AltaGas, WGL Holdings, and Washington Gas entered into a settlement agreement as a condition of approval of the AltaGas-WGL Holdings merger. Part of the Agreement includes a two-year, $6 million funding commitment from AltaGas for community benefits. These funds will be used to support violence prevention efforts and workforce development initiatives, including job-training and other programs intended to create pathways to workforce participation for justice-involved and hard-to-hire individuals.
“I’m pleased that as a result of the AltaGas merger negotiated by the Office of the Attorney General on behalf of the District, $2 million dollars will be directed to help fund our Cure the Streets violence interruption sites through July 2020,” said Attorney General Racine. “This much-needed funding will enable us to continue this pilot which has shown promising early results at reducing shootings and homicides in these high-violence neighborhoods.”
Of the $6 million, $4 million will support the work of the DC Infrastructure Academy. Mayor Bowser opened the DC Infrastructure Academy (DCIA) in 2018 in order to provide more DC residents a pathway to careers in the fast-growing infrastructure industry. DCIA, in partnership with leading employers in the area, coordinates, trains, screens, and recruits residents to fulfill the workforce needs of the infrastructure, energy and utilities, transportation, and information technology industries. In addition to offering various training programs in one central facility, DCIA also offers access to other key supports on site, including resume development, workforce readiness, hiring events, and job referral services.
The other $2 million will go toward supporting Attorney General Racine’s Cure the Streets program. Cure the Streets, which is currently focused on neighborhoods in Wards 5 and 8, is based on the successful CURE Violence model which uses a public-health approach and treats violence as a disease through three main actions: interrupting potentially violent conflicts by preventing retaliation and mediating simmering disputes; identifying and treating individuals at the highest risk for conflict by providing support services and changing behavior; and engaging communities in changing norms around violence. The Cure the Streets workers were hired directly from the neighborhoods in which they work and have been successfully reducing shootings and homicides over the last five months.
Today’s announcement comes several days after both the Mayor and the DC Attorney General met with their partners on the Council to discuss strategies for reducing violent crime.