As of November 2014, the unemployment rate for whites in Washington DC was 4.9 percent while that of Black residents was 11.1 percent; more than double that of White residents.
Even with a landmark jobs training program for the new Marriott Marquis hotel and the First Source Law [which requires businesses that receive financial assistance from the District to make a “good faith effort” to hire DC residents for at least 51 percent of new jobs created] only 178 graduates of the Marriott Marquis Jobs Training Program were hired out of 719.
It is not enough. We, the residents of Washington DC, want to see good jobs be available to Black District residents and public funds be used for the improvement of our communities, not just businesses.
1. THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SERVICES (DOES) ENFORCE OUR FIRST SOURCE LAW
A recent report by the D.C. auditor revealed that DOES ineffectively monitors its First Source program goals, allowing developers and others who had entered into First Source agreements to avoid reaching the 51 percent employment level for newly created jobs. The inability to reach this benchmark has cost D.C. more than $14 million in lost penalties that could have been collected under First Source.
2. CLAWBACKING PROVISIONS
Residents demand that Mayor Bowser sign an executive order to add a clawback provision to the city's First Source law. A clawback provision would require businesses that fail to meet their obligations under the First Source Law to return some, or all, of the public subsidies they received. At least 20 states have a clawback or recapture provision requiring recipients of city-funded economic development subsidies to uphold their end of the bargain.
3. THAT THE CITY & DC RESIDENTS SUPPORT THE GROWTH OF THE BLACK WORKERS CENTER
As we push for policy change we also must organize and develop economic alternatives like worker-owned cooperatives. ONE DC members are working to create a Black Workers Center in Washington, DC, which we envision to be:
+ A center for finding and creating positive, dignified Black work and training.
+ An incubation space for alternatives to low-wage work, such as worker cooperatives, collectives, and small businesses created, owned, and operated by Black workers.
+ A place to openly discuss the intersection of race and work, particularly what it means to be "working while Black," as well as a place for Black workers to positively recognize their Blackness.
And much more! Learn more about ONE DC's Black Workers Center here: http://www.onedconline.org/blackworkercenter.
This Juneteenth, ONE DC and The Kalmanovitz Initiative at Georgetown University are holding a press conference to release: "Trained to Death" and Still Jobless: A Case Study of the Efficacy of DC's First Source Law, Economic Development Policies, and the Marriott Marquis Jobs Training Program. Download the full report here.