The case for creating a neighborhood expertise pipeline within the District of Columbia

This publication is the primary of a sequence that can discover the creation of a neighborhood expertise pipeline within the District of Columbia that prepares youth for high-wage, high-demand jobs within the area by enabling District employers to actively interact within the training and coaching of the District’s youth. 

The District of Columbia and the higher Washington metropolitan space have all the time been nice locations to dwell and work. Excessive wages, prime quality of life, and a secure hiring setting with a depth of expertise has attracted employees from all components of the nation and all corners of the world. Information from the U.S. Census Bureau recommend that in any given 12 months, about 5 p.c of the non-public sector workforce within the District (together with those that dwell in Maryland and Virginia) are newcomers who’ve moved to the area both from one other state or one other nation.[i] In 2019, simply earlier than the pandemic, for instance, there have been an estimated 23,000 newcomers within the District’s workforce[ii], and so they took one in 5 new jobs opened within the metropolis that 12 months.[iii]

On this hiring setting, sadly, it’s simple to foretell who’s being disregarded. In 2019, of the 415,828 District residents between the ages of 17 and 64 who weren’t at school, 53,471 (13 p.c) weren’t working.[iv] Three quarters of those non-working adults had been Black residents with out faculty credentials, leaving them with little hope to qualify for almost all of the 117,000 jobs crammed that 12 months. Every year, extra younger Black folks born and raised within the District are added to this pool of residents with out entry to high-wage, high-potential jobs, which perpetuates a vicious cycle that ends in a lifetime of low alternatives.

Within the wake of the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many others to call, many companies and huge employers have pledged their dedication to construct a extra various, equitable workforce. Employment projections recommend that there’s a actual alternative to satisfy this pledge. Each within the District of Columbia and within the higher metro space, employment is projected to bounce again to pre-pandemic ranges by 2022.[v] Importantly, over the following decade, the necessity for expertise within the high-wage areas of data know-how (IT), enterprise operations, and well being care will develop.

Even underneath very conservative estimates—assuming the regional employment in these high-wage occupations would develop on the similar charge as the remainder of the nation—between now and 2029, the area will possible add over 50,000 software program builders, well being care employees, administration analysts, info safety analysts, mission managers, and enterprise and advertising analysts, all of which pay at or above the median wage. However the area will possible develop a lot quicker: one estimate places the variety of digital know-how job alternatives that might open within the area over the following 5 years to as excessive as 130,000.[vi]

Thus, we’ve each a dedication to racial fairness from employers and the necessity to rent new employees, however we nonetheless lack a system to carry these two collectively. Until we do one thing otherwise, these high-wage, high-potential jobs will proceed to elude most of the District’s personal younger folks, born and raised within the metropolis.


To unlock extra alternatives, the District’s youth want to have the ability to get employed for good jobs with excessive incomes potential and paths for profession progress.[vii] What prevents youth from discovering excessive paying jobs shouldn’t be the dearth of jobs, however disparities in alternatives for preparation, training, and credentialing that opens entry to employment. As an example, youth lack equitable entry to experiences to be taught from employers, e.g. job shadowing, mentoring, internships, and so forth., which limits their profession prospects and financial mobility. To beat these disparities, the District should spend money on constructing a neighborhood expertise pipeline that allows District employers to actively interact within the training and coaching of town’s youth[viii], to allow them to turn out to be co-developers of human capital, not merely shoppers of it.

We outline the native expertise pipeline as a brand new system that reliably connects the District’s youth to native employers with the aim of making long-term employment made up of the next key stakeholders:

  • Younger adults who’re attending or have attended District’s public colleges and who need to stay of their communities.
  • Employers who interact these younger adults to assist them acquire information and abilities to allow them to be employed when a job is accessible.
  • The District’s public PK-12 and postsecondary training that gives alternatives for coaching and work-based studying included into youth’s studying.
  • Non-profit organizations and authorities businesses that present needed coordination and wraparound helps to learners.
  • A coverage and regulatory framework from the District of Columbia authorities that’s essential to assist work-based studying, credentialing, and employment.
  • Philanthropic organizations and DC authorities that present non-public and public funding to assist learners and construct required infrastructure.

The principle targets of making a neighborhood expertise pipeline are to organize District’s youth for employment and to offer regional employers with the varied workforce they search. Whereas a neighborhood expertise pipeline can embody coaching in each exhausting abilities and gentle abilities, employment and apprenticeship providers, and supportive providers akin to mentoring, childcare, meals help, transportation and housing, a pipeline’s differentiating function is that it creates paths for District employers to actively interact within the training and coaching of the District’s youth.

Importantly, creation of the native expertise pipeline goes past making a workforce program. Good workforce packages are needed, however not ample, to make sure that the District’s younger persons are ready to be aggressive for the high-wage, high-potential jobs which are opening within the metropolitan Washington area. The creation of the native expertise pipeline requires a system change, together with a shared imaginative and prescient throughout all key stakeholders, an infrastructure to carry all needed elements collectively, and insurance policies and practices which are wanted to execute the imaginative and prescient together with helps that join the District’s youth to native employers for long-term employment.


Though the area’s capability to draw and retain rising companies is deeply related to the depth of expertise prepared transfer from anyplace on the planet,[ix] this leaves out present residents—particularly these furthest away from alternative—in benefiting from the prosperity created by financial exercise. District residents who discover themselves outdoors of the workforce are additionally amongst these almost definitely to endure the implications of concentrated poverty.[x] They’re extra more likely to expertise trauma, bodily and psychological well being issues, and financial instability, or be concerned with the legal justice system.[xi] They dwell shorter lives.[xii] They’re much less engaged in civic actions, are much less more likely to vote or manage, and subsequently their communities have a muted voice within the metropolis’s insurance policies.[xiii] Their youngsters, too, will possible have fewer alternatives, making a vicious cycle that deepens poverty and will increase human struggling.[xiv],[xv]

Thus, there are good social causes to spend money on a neighborhood expertise pipeline. A bigger resident workforce with robust earnings progress potential would improve prosperity in all components of town, lowering the necessity for social help, contributing to neighborhood stability, rising civic participation and volunteerism, lowering crime charges, and strengthening the income base. Since communities of colour are typically additional away from alternative than their White friends, investing sooner or later success of native youth would additionally assist scale back racial inequities and create extra economically various and resilient neighborhoods.

There are additionally good–and worthwhile–causes for employers to spend money on growing a neighborhood expertise pipeline. Companies want high expertise to develop and be aggressive. However even in a metropolis just like the District of Columbia the place expertise may be imported, there’s financial worth in investing in making a pipeline of native youth for future hiring. First, a neighborhood workforce, with its robust ties to the neighborhood, usually has decrease job turnover, making a extra secure workforce (and decrease prices of inner coaching and orientation) for employers.[xvii] The presence of a neighborhood expertise pipeline will increase recruitment effectivity and workforce range, and creates a workforce with increased morale. When employers assist their communities by creating employment alternatives for native youth, they reap excessive reputational returns, and profit from a extra devoted buyer base.[xviii]


The presence of a robust college community within the District attracts a major variety of younger folks to town, however the alternatives that the District’s universities present for college students from everywhere in the nation generally conceal the dearth of alternative for some youth born and raised within the metropolis. Of the 82,160 youth aged 16-24 who lived within the District of Columbia in 2019, solely 29,734 had been born and raised within the metropolis. Eighty p.c of residents on this class are younger Black folks, and amongst them, solely 4 out of ten are at the moment at school. Importantly, one in 5 of the District’s Black youth are neither at school nor working. In distinction, amongst youth of all different races and ethnicities, just one in ten are neither at school nor working.

Youth aged 16-24 born in DC by race, school attendance, and work status

The unequal life outcomes of the District’s youth start when they’re at school. For each 100 college students that begin highschool collectively, 31 won’t graduate highschool inside 4 years, 30 will graduate highschool however won’t attend post-secondary training, and 25 will enroll in a post-secondary establishment however won’t graduate.[xix] Black and Hispanic or Latino D.C. college students, English learners, and college students with disabilities usually tend to fall behind in highschool[xx] and are much less more likely to attend or full post-secondary training. Though the District has made vital strides in enhancing public training within the final decade, we have to speed up our progress and work extra carefully with employers.

Even when District born and raised youth discover jobs, they’re more likely to be in low-paying occupations with little alternative for financial mobility. The most typical job amongst youth born and raised in DC and who aren’t at school is that of cashier (with a median wage of $31,180).[xxi] Throughout the highest 10 occupations held by youth who’re born and raised within the District, 5 have median annual wages which are at or barely above the minimal wage, and just one has a median annual wage that’s increased than the median wage throughout all occupations (administration analysts, with a median wage of $107,000 in 2019 in comparison with the citywide median of $89,900). And as these youth age and turn out to be core members of the District’s workforce, their alternatives don’t all the time increase. The highest 10 occupations held by DC-born residents between the ages of 45 and 64 embody 4 that pay proper across the minimal wage mark (cooks, cashiers, janitors, and drivers), and just one (managers) that pays above the realm median wage.

Ten most common occupations for youth born in DC and the median salary for that occupation 


The District’s youth training and employment outcomes underscore the urgency of the issue. Each younger grownup who’s excluded from the regional labor market annually provides to a pool of residents who’re additional pushed into poverty or pushed out of town. By predictably getting ready youth for extra profitable careers, a neighborhood expertise pipeline will improve their financial mobility and wages.

There’s an financial value to persevering with on our present path. Information recommend that the Washington area faces a scarcity of expertise in quite a few high-wage, high-demand occupations which are important for the companies in our area to thrive. For instance, one estimate places the variety of tech and tech-related jobs that might go unfilled within the area yearly with no dramatic improve in growing expertise to 60,000.[xxii]  Regardless of the robust presence of universities that domesticate expertise, the metropolitan Washington space is among the many areas which have skilled the best quantity of “drain,” largely because of the comparatively costly value of residing.[xxiii] Within the absence of expertise that may meet the labor demand from employers, the area’s financial progress and competitiveness will possible endure. These developments make it much more essential to domesticate native expertise who can meet the labor demand and assist push forth the area’s financial progress.

There’s a social value to inaction as properly. Workforce preparedness is a matter of racial fairness within the District as Black and Hispanic residents are extra possible than white residents to be with out superior levels, extra more likely to work in low-wage jobs, extra more likely to be returning residents, and extra more likely to be unemployed. A neighborhood expertise pipeline additionally may also help be certain that the District’s workforce has abilities that matches these which are required by native employers, which, in flip improves regional competitiveness, and helps financial progress.[xxiv] Importantly, a neighborhood expertise pipeline may also help these furthest from alternative to be part of this progress, thereby lowering social and financial inequities which have been amplified in the course of the District’s latest historical past.


This temporary is the primary of a sequence that can discover what youth and employers need and have to have a significant pre-employment engagement that results in good jobs for many who are furthest away from alternative, and good employees for employers. Future subjects will embody an exploration of what District’s employers at the moment do to interact native youth, how employers can align their actions by means of under-explored linkages throughout totally different industries, how the District can create a regulatory and authorized setting that creates alternatives for employment for youth, whether or not there are examples of pre-employment engagement of youth by employers that might function a primary mannequin for a city-wide native expertise pipeline, what youth need, and areas the place District’s packages want extra alignment with employer and youth wants, amongst others.


Function picture by Chesapeake Bay Program through Flickr (Supply)


[i] This estimate displays the share of individuals aged 16 to 64, who dwell in DC, MD, or VA, and work in a non-public enterprise (for-profit or not-for-profit) the District, and report shifting within the final 12 months from a spot apart from D.C., Maryland, or Virginia. The share has been fixed throughout years. For instance, the estimated share is 4.78 p.c for the 5 years between 2009-2013 and 4.82 p.c for the 5 years between 2015-19. The supply for this info is the American Group Survey.

[ii] This info relies on an estimate developed utilizing microdata from the one 12 months 2019 American Group Survey.

[iii] In accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’  Enterprise Dynamics Statistics, in 2019, there have been 117,000 new job openings in D.C.. However the internet employment progress was a lot smaller, at 7,625. The rest had been jobs misplaced as a result of some institutions within the District of Columbia decreased their workforces, and a few closed.

[iv] These embody residents who reported they’re accessible for work (6,724), not accessible for work attributable to an sickness or another excuse (2,525), and people who didn’t report particulars on their availability (44,222). The information are estimates developed utilizing the American Group Survey’s one-year microdata for 2019.

[v] The February income estimates from the District’s Workplace of the Chief Monetary Officer mission that by 2022, employment within the District of Columbia will make up for the losses incurred in the course of the pandemic-induced financial recession, and employment will develop by 6 share by means of 2025, from the bottom level in 2020.

[vi] Estimate from Higher Washington Partnership, Capital CoLAB.

[vii]  Carnevale, A., J. Strohl, N. Ridley, and A. Gulish (2018). Three Academic Pathways to Good Jobs: Excessive College, Center Abilities, and Bachelor’s Diploma. Georgetown College Heart for Schooling and the Workforce and McCourt College of Public Coverage.

[viii] For instance, an 2013 research from Georgetown College exhibits {that a} bigger share of youthful adults are laying aside their transition to a lifelong profession, and mixing work and studying earlier in life is a vital strategy to get them began sooner. That is much more essential for youth who’ve extra obstacles to employment. For particulars see, Carnevale A. et. al (2013). Failure to Launch: Structural Shift and the New Misplaced Technology, Georgetown College Heart for Schooling and the Workforce and McCourt College of Public Coverage.

[ix] Carlin D., et. al. (2019), Constructing the tech expertise pipeline, McKinsey Institute, Washington, D.C.

[x] Rusk D. (2018). Concentrated Poverty—The Important Mass, D.C. Coverage Heart, Washington, D.C.

[xi] See, for instance, Erickson, D. et, al, editors (2008). “The Enduring Problem of Concentrated Poverty in America: Case Research from Communities throughout the U.S.” The Federal Reserve System and The Brookings Establishment.

[xii] Chetty R., M. Stepner, S. Abraham, et al. The Affiliation Between Earnings and Life Expectancy in the USA, 2001-2014. JAMA. 2016;315(16):1750–1766.

[xiii] McBride, A., M. Sherraden, and S. Pritzker. (2006). Civic Engagement amongst Low-Earnings and Low-Wealth Households: In Their Phrases. Household Relations, 55(2), 152-162. Retrieved February 23, 2021.

[xiv] For instance, over time, financial segregation among the many District’s Black residents have elevated. As extra prosperous Black residents have moved away from the District of Columbia, poverty has deepened in some components of town. For particulars, see Rusk, D. (2018). The Nice Kind Half II, D.C. Coverage Heart, Washington, D.C.

[xv] Chetty R, N. Hendren, M. R. Jones, S. R. Porter (2018) “Race and Financial Alternative in the USA: an Intergenerational Perspective” Quarterly Journal Of Economics, Quantity 135, Subject 2, Might 2020, Pages 711–783.

[xvii] Nigro, S. (2019), The advantages of investing in a neighborhood expertise pipeline, Enterprise Chief EU.

[xviii] For a evaluate of challenges and alternatives in partaking employers in workforce packages, the explanation why employers may be desirous about such participation, see Spaulding S. and Martin-Caughey A. (2015). The Targets and Dimensions of Employer Engagement in Workforce Improvement Packages, City Institute, Washington D.C..

[xix] Information primarily based on the cohort that entered highschool within the 2014-15 college 12 months. For particulars, see Coffin C. and T. Meghjani (2020), Transition to school and profession for the District’s highschool college students, D.C. Coverage Heart, Washington D.C.

[xx] District of Columbia Workplace of the State Superintendent of Schooling, D.C. College Report Card.

[xxi] Information on occupations is estimated utilizing the five-year microdata from the American Group Survey, 2019. Median wages are from the Might 2019 State Occupation and Wage Estimates printed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

[xxii] Higher Washington Partnership (2020) The Capital Area faces an enormous tech expertise scarcity.

[xxiii] CBRE Analysis (2020). Scoring Tech Expertise: How Tech Labor Traits Inform Selections and Affect Financial Progress & Actual Property within the 50 U.S. and Canadian Markets.

[xxiv] Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Restricted and Council on Competitiveness. 2016. 2016 International Manufacturing Competitiveness Index. New York: Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Restricted.

D.C. Coverage Heart Fellows are impartial writers, and we gladly encourage the expression of a wide range of views. The views of our Fellows, printed right here or elsewhere, don’t replicate the views of the D.C. Coverage Heart.

Similar Articles


Most Popular

17 Kids Who Were Confused About Why Their Actions Made Their Parents Laugh So Hard

REvil ransomware is back in full attack mode and leaking data – BleepingComputer

A West Virginia city is taking a Tesla patrol car for a test drive – CNN