Councilmember Silverman Passes Labor & Workforce Development Committee FY19 Budget Recommendations

Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large), who chairs the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, today held a Committee vote on budget recommendations for the District’s 2019 Fiscal Year budget for agencies under the Committee’s jurisdiction. The recommendations include investments to expand job training in the hospitality industry, provide literacy training for adults, and improve transparency and oversight of the District’s workforce spending.

“My goal is to put the District’s workforce dollars into programs and workforce opportunities that will make the most difference for our city and its residents,” Silverman said. “I want our investments to prepare people for good, living wage jobs—and ensure that District workers actually get the wages and benefits they earn.”

The Committee unanimously passed recommendations to fund the following investments during today’s meeting:

  • $1 million to help D.C. Central Kitchen relocate and grow its culinary job training program, one of the District’s most successful job training programs with a 90% employment rate
  • $1.5 million to continue the Career Pathways Innovation Fund grant program, which provides literacy training integrated with occupational training for District jobseekers
  • $500,000 to conduct a pilot literacy training program for the District’s lowest-level adult learners through the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (transferred to the Committee on Education)
  • $500,000 to expand Out-of-School Time grants, providing access to before-school, after-school, and summertime enrichment programs for District children and their families
  • $177,000 to enhance oversight of workforce development programs by the Office of the D.C. Auditor
  • $170,000 to establish a living wage certification grant program and directory of local employers paying a living wage within the Department of Small and Local Business Development (transferred to the Committee on Business and Economic Development)

The Committee also included a legislative recommendation to combat wage theft by clarifying the Mayor’s authority to investigate labor law violations. Additionally, the Committee recommended redirecting current funding in the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program, the District’s flagship job training program for youth and young adults, toward wage raises for participants instead of outside contractors. The Committee’s report proposes giving the Mayor authority to pay higher wages, with specific recommendations of $6.00/hour for 14 to 15-year-olds (up from $5.25) and $9.00/hour for 16 to 21-year-olds (up from $8.25).

The first of two final votes on the FY19 budget will be held on Tuesday, May 15, at an Additional Legislative Meeting.