(WASHINGTON, DC) – After exceeding its goal of recruiting and hiring District of Columbia residents to work on five school modernization projects this summer, Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced today that 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.
“By expanding WIP to include the dozens of construction projects under DGS, we could potentially provide hundreds of job opportunities for DC residents. Just as important, this program encourages use of small certified DC businesses on these projects,” said City Administrator Allen Y. Lew.
The five District-funded school construction projects that were part of the WIP pilot included: Hart Middle School Phase 1 (Ward 8), Seaton Elementary School Phase 1 (Ward 2), Maury Elementary School Phase 1 (Ward 6), Langley Education Center (Ward 5) and reconstruction of Takoma Elementary School (Ward 4).
At the Langley construction site, 53 percent of the workers on the project were DC residents who were hired over the course of the project. In addition, 61 percent of the hours worked at Langley were worked by District residents.
“The Langley project is an example of what happens when the government, contractors, local businesses and the community work together to create job opportunities for DC residents,” said Brian Hanlon, DGS Interim Director.
In addition to the hiring goal that was exceeded, 26 District residents received lead and/or asbestos training, which led to immediate and ongoing employment. And 35 residents were accepted into the STEP-UP Apprenticeship Program with the Electrician’s Union (Local 26) and will maintain continuous employment on area projects for one year.
For more information on DGS and WIP, visit www.dgs.dc.gov.