Councilmember Silverman Introduces Bill Creating Pathways to DC Government Jobs for DC High School Graduates

DC Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) today introduced the Pathways to District Government Careers Act to help District residents enter into District government jobs. The bill would create public-sector apprenticeship programs for District residents and also give graduates of District high schools a first shot at entry-level government jobs. The legislation comes on the heels of a renewed conversation about better preparing District young people for life after high school, as well as providing more opportunities for District residents to gain a foothold into middle-class, public service careers.

“Our young people, especially our DC high school graduates who live in Wards 5, 7 and 8, need opportunity. They want meaningful living wage work, they want mentors, they want careers,” said Silverman. “This bill does that by leveraging jobs in our own government.”

Under the legislation, the DC Department of Human Resources (DCHR) would create apprenticeships by partnering with District agencies and unions. The apprenticeships would be developed in at least five occupational areas in two years, including one in information technology and one in healthcare. After two years, DCHR would provide a comprehensive report on implementation, along with a three-year plan for development of more apprenticeships.

Applicants must be District residents, and qualified applicants would be guaranteed an interview. To facilitate interest and awareness, the District government would be required to target recruitment for entry-level jobs to eligible graduates of District public high schools.

“DC government is one of the city’s largest employers,” said Silverman. “If we are going to ask DC’s private sector to create mentorships, jobs, and apprenticeships, we need to lead by example.”

Additionally, the legislation would create a pathway from District high schools into District government jobs by providing tools and information high schoolers need via partnerships between DCHR and District public and public charter schools. Activities would include paid internships for students at District agencies, mentoring between District employees and students, professional skills development, career exploration and exposure through awareness campaigns, and application preparation and assistance.

The bill was co-introduced by Chairman Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) and Councilmembers David Grosso (I-At Large), Robert White (D-At Large), Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4), Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7), and Trayon White (D-Ward 8). Councilmembers Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) and Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) were co-sponsors. The bill was referred to the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.