Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray, flanked by leadership of the DC Chamber of Commerce and the DC Department of Employment Services, announced the OneCity, One Hire initiative on Thursday at the chamber’s office in downtown DC.
An effort to encourage employers to hire District job seekers, OneCity, One Hire has an ambitious goal in today’s economy: hire 10,000 residents as soon as possible. Modeled after Atlanta’s Hire One jobs initiative, which helped successfully employ 13,000 job seekers within six months of its launch, Mayor Gray hopes to see similar results in the nation’s capital.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the July unemployment rate for the District of Columbia – the latest data available from the bureau – is 11.3%. Partners for the OneCity, One Hire program hope to chip away at those numbers by getting local employers to hire at least one unemployed resident. According to the OneCity, One Hire fact sheet, the Washington, DC metropolitan area has 51,000 advertised job openings, and approximately 36,000 unemployed city residents.
“This effort is the latest and most innovative part of our multi-pronged strategy to get District residents back to work,” said Mayor Gray during Thursday’s press conference. Barbara Lang, president and CEO of the DC Chamber of Commerce, has mobilized the association’s members to take part in the initiative, noting that OneCity, One Hire is a win-win situation for job seekers and employers alike.
In addition to members of the DC Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Gray has reached out to and gained support from other local businesses to participate in the workforce initiative, including CVS Pharmacy, the District of Columbia Building Industry Association, Hensel Phelps Construction Company, and the Courtyard by Marriott Convention Center.
Local colleges and universities are also participating in the OneCity, One Hire initiative, including Georgetown and George Washington Universities. Mary Anne Mahin, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for Georgetown University, attended the Mayor’s announcement. The university has engaged the help of DC Department of Employment Services for some time, specifically job training and matching unemployed people with job opportunities at Georgetown.
A partner in the OneCity, One Hire program, the DC Department of Employment Services is the catalyst for preparing potential employees for opportunities the Mayor hopes companies will create for residents. Lisa M. Mallory, Director of the agency, said that the DC Department of Employment Services is “stepping up to the plate and we’re facilitating relationships with employers” participating in OneCity, One Hire. Some of the services the agency will provide for employers, according to Director Mallory, include GED screening and applicant background checks.
For more information about the OneCity, One Hire initiative, visit the Mayor’s website, or the DC Department of Employment Services.