Silverman Legislation Building Pathways to District Government Careers Passes First Vote Unanimously

A bill introduced in April by D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) to establish clear pathways into District government careers for residents and native Washingtonians passed unanimously at the Council’s first legislative vote on the measure this week.

“Apprenticeships are one of our best tools to provide residents with opportunities to gain work experience and earn a paycheck at the same time,” Silverman said. “There are thousands of jobs in District government that we can leverage for residents looking for mentorship, careers, and meaningful, living wage work—especially for Wards 5, 7 and 8 where unemployment is the highest.”

The Pathways to District Government Careers Amendment Act of 2018 will do three primary things to provide District residents and graduates of the District’s high schools and other secondary schools with inroads into government jobs: (1) establish a public-sector apprenticeship initiative in District government, open to all District residents; (2) create partnerships between the Department of Human Resources and District secondary schools; and (3) require District agencies that are hiring for entry-level jobs to first consider applications from District residents who completed a District high school diploma or equivalent, before considering other applicants.


Under the legislation, within 2 years, the District’s executive branch is required to create apprenticeship programs in five occupations, including one in healthcare and one in information technology, two of the city’s most high-demand industries. The launch would be followed by annual performance reports and a three-year plan to develop additional apprenticeship programs. Labor unions would also provide recommendations on which apprenticeship programs would be most beneficial to develop in which agencies and occupations.


To help more District high school students and graduates prepare for careers in District government, the bill requires partnerships between the D.C. Department of Human Resources and District secondary schools, including public high schools, public charter schools, adult education schools, and not-for-profit organizations. These would support job exploration and provide tools and information students need to apply and prepare for District employment.


To provide more access to entry-level government jobs for applicants who are both District residents and have completed a District public secondary school program, their applications would receive priority review. Agencies would be required to first exclusively consider applications from this group and to conduct interviews of select candidates as part of the hiring process. Entry-level jobs are positions that do not require certification beyond a high school diploma and require three or fewer years of prior work experience.

The second and final vote on the legislation will be on Tuesday, October 16.