The District of Columbia and the DC Office of Veterans Affairs (OVA) are observing Veterans Day 2011 by paying homage to our veterans in various planned activities.
“Veterans Day is a time when we honor all those who have served the United States in our armed forces – including thousands of District residents over the years who have fought for freedom and democracy around the world despite not being able to fully enjoy it at home,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray.
OVA Director Matt Cary said both District and federal officials are participating in multiple events over a two-day period to mark the holiday. A listing of some events is below in the 'Upcoming Events' section or click here to read more.
Appointees Named to University of the District of Columbia Community College Transition Independence Advisory Board
As a follow up to Council Chairman Kwame Brown’s creation of the University of the District of Columbia Community College Transition to Independence Advisory Board in the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Support Act of 2011, the Council of the District of Columbia confirmed appointees to the advisory board last week. Mayor Gray and Chairman Brown share the credit for nominating five outstanding public servants to the Board.
Mayor Gray nominated three members, Alice M. Rivlin, senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and a visiting professor at the Public Policy Institute of Georgetown University; John W. Hill, chief executive officer of the Federal City Council; and Carrie L. Thornhill, managing director of Israel Manor Inc. and a founding architect of the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization, Inc., DC Agenda, the Children Youth Investment Trust Corporation, the DC Neighborhood College and the DC Childcare Corporation.
Chairman Brown nominated two of the members, Walter Smith, executive director of the DC Appleseed Center; and Joshua M. Kern, former executive director at the Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter School.
Office of Aging HQ and Senior Citizen Wellness Center Opens on 5th and K Streets, NE
In an effort to provide more wellness centers for senior citizens in the District of Columbia, the Office on Aging opened its sixth site at the former Hayes Elementary School located at 5th and K Streets, NE. The building will house the Hayes Senior Wellness Center, the Office on Aging headquarters and the Aging and Disability Resource Center.
Mayor Gray, former Office on Aging Director Veronica E. Pace, Councilmember Tommy Wells and current Office of Aging Director Dr. John Thompson cut the ribbon during the opening ceremony on October 27, 2011. Tours, information, health screenings, cooking and fitness demonstrations followed the ceremony and showcased the various fitness and wellness activities for seniors to participate citywide.
Celebrating the Expansion of the Wheatley Education Campus with the Joseph H. Cole Community Park Project Ribbon Cutting
Mayor Vincent C. Gray celebrated the third phase of renovation and expansion of the Wheatley Education Campus by cutting the ribbon on the new Joseph H. Cole Park on October 31, which includes an outdoor park, field, playgrounds and a summer “spray-ground.” Along with members of the Ward 5 community, Mayor Gray was joined by other government officials, including Councilmember Harry Thomas, City Administrator Allen Y. Lew, Department of General Services (DGS) Interim Director Brian Hanlon, and Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Jesus Aguirre.
“Combining the state-of-the-art equipment with several green features that will lower energy costs in the facility makes the Joseph H. Cole Community Park a truly wonderful addition for the children and families of the Trinidad community to enjoy,” Mayor Gray said. Read more.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Other Officials Officially Break Ground on New Raymond Recreation Center Project
On November 9, Mayor Vincent C. Gray celebrated the official start of the construction project to modernize Raymond Recreation Center. Members of the Ward 4 community and Councilmember Muriel Bowser, representatives from the Office of the City Administrator (OCA) and the Department of General Services (DGS) joined Mayor Gray for this event.
The recreation center project will include the demolition of the existing facility and constructing a new 17,000 square-foot center. The new facility will include a gymnasium, weight room, computer rooms, commercial kitchen and administrative support areas. Read more.
District of Columbia, Maryland, and Federal Officials to Celebrate Anacostia River Trail
Mayor Vincent C. Gray and key officials from Maryland and federal agencies hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Anacostia River Watershed to highlight ongoing efforts to restore the watershed and improve public access to the Anacostia River. Specifically regional representatives were there to celebrate the recent completion of 12 miles of trail in the District and 1.5 miles of trail in Maryland. Following the ribbon cutting, the officials engaged in a bike ride along the newly completed trail segment that will ultimately connect to the District's portion of the Riverwalk Trail. Both trails are part of the larger Anacostia Riverwalk Trail system which will offer nearly 60 miles of contiguous trails and provide additional opportunities for residents and visitors to access Anacostia Park and the Anacostia River.
Regional representatives, such as Senator Ben Cardin, Representative Donna Edwards, Governor Martin O’Malley, PG County Executive Rushern Baker, III, U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Deputy U.S. Secretary of Transportation John Porcari, Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis attended the event.
For more information on future development of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, click here.
President Obama's Decision to Provide Federal Disaster Aid Brings Good News to the District
President Barack Obama has approved Mayor Gray’s request for Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance for the District of Columbia due to the 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23, 2011. The Mayor sent the request on October 21, 2011 and received a response from the President on Tuesday, November 8.
“This is great news,” said Mayor Gray. “I want to thank the President for his commitment to assist the District in its recovery efforts as result of the August earthquake.” The Mayor said that the District looks forward to working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to identify the areas of the city’s infrastructure that have been most significantly impacted.
President Obama’s approval means that federal aid will now be made available to the District of Columbia to supplement recovery efforts for structural and non-structural repairs to schools, universities, hospitals, government buildings, roads, bridges, tunnels and other critical structures damaged by the quake.
WMATA Partners With DC Government to Hire Metrobus Drivers
On Wednesday, November 2, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority tested 26 applicants for job opportunities as metro bus drivers. The test took place at the District’s Department of Employment Services (DOES) headquarters. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said that the collaboration that is needed between the DC government and local businesses, as demonstrated with DDOE and WMATA, is necessary to jump-start the city’s efforts to put more residents back to work under his One City ● One Hire initiative.
The One City ● One Hire initiative has helped 335 DC residents find jobs since it was announced in early September. So far, 172 businesses, including 7-Eleven, Ross Dress for Less, Safeway, Rite Aid, and Securitas, have enlisted as partners under the program. Businesses use DOES to notify job seekers of available positions and to pre-screen applicants.
To view the press conference on the WMATA partnership announcement, click here.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray Visits Safeway and Rite Aid Interviews
One City • One Hire partners Safeway and Rite Aid are developing a closer working relationship with the DC Department of Employment Services (DOES). This should translate into more jobs for qualified District residents. On Thursday, November 3, both companies had human-resources representatives on-site at DOES Headquarters, located at 4058 Minnesota Avenue NE, to conduct interviews to fill management and other positions. These positions range fro store managers and shift supervisors to clerks and night stockers.
"As business participants of the One City • One Hire initiative, these companies are committed to identifying and putting qualified District residents back to work,” said Mayor Gray, who was on site to greet job seekers and to thank the businesses for delivering jobs to DC residents. “My administration will continue to be persistent in developing partnerships with businesses and non-profit organizations throughout the Washington metropolitan area. Matching qualified District job seekers to available jobs opportunities is the ultimate goal.”
Earlier this week, DOES held employment pre-screening events for Safeway and Rite Aid and identified 180 District residents with the requisite skills and/or background for both entry-level and management-level positions.
Expanded Workforce Incentive Program Designed to Create More Potential Jobs For DC Residents
After exceeding its goal of recruiting and hiring District of Columbia residents to work on five school modernization projects this summer, the pilot Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) will now be expanded citywide.
The summer pilot program’s exceeded its goal of having DC residents responsible for at least 35 percent of the hours worked on the five locally funded projects. In the end, DC residents performed 50 percent of the hours worked on those projects. Overall, DC residents made up 41 percent of the workers on the school projects, with a total of 780 DC residents working on the construction sites.
“The WIP pilot effort showed us that if we provide opportunities for District residents to compete for construction jobs, pool our construction projects together, and partner with construction companies to hire more of our unemployed workforce, we can help to put our people back to work,” Mayor Gray said.
The WIP initiative was implemented by the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization (OPEFM), which focused on school modernization projects. Moving forward, the WIP program will include all capital construction projects managed by the newly formed Department of General Services (DGS). Those projects could potentially include school, park, and recreation center modernizations and other construction-related contracts across the District.
Program with 34 Cadets Is Part of Mayor’s One City*One Hire Initiative
On Saturday, November 5, Mayor Vincent C. Gray; Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Paul A. Quander; DC Department of Employment Services Director Lisa Mallory; and District Fire and Emergency Medical Services Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe attended an orientation class of the Fire and EMS Department’s 14th Cadet Program. Officials personally greeted the 34 cadets and offered words of encouragement as they begin a 12-month training program on October 24, 2011.
The DC Fire and EMS Cadet Program is designed to recruit District of Columbia high school graduates into the Fire and Emergency Medical Services. The program was initially established in 1985, as a joint venture between Fire and EMS and the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). Following a period of inactivity, Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Fire and EMS Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe have re-launched the program, recognizing its value in stimulating job and career opportunities for the District’s youth. The program was started on October 24, 2011 with 17 cadets, and an additional 17 cadets have been added to the class where all 34 recruits attended the November 7th orientation session.
Friday, November 11
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: Honoring African-American World War II Veterans, National World War II Memorial – OVA will honor D.C. World War II veterans.
11:00 am. – 12:00 p.m.: Arlington National Cemetery Veterans Day Memorial Service – This event includes a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Seating in the cemetery’s amphitheater is limited, so visitors should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the ceremony.
11:00 a.m. – 3:00p.m.: Veterans Day Rock Rally honoring D.C. women veterans, THEARC Theatre, 1901 Mississippi Avenue SE.
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Pacifica Radio Veterans Day Program With Acie Byrd – OVA Director Cary and representatives from the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will reflect on what Veterans Day means to America and discuss issues veterans face as they come home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Ceremony – this will take place at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Mall and will pay tribute to all who served and sacrificed during the Vietnam War and America’s other conflicts.