Workforce Intermediary Pilot Program
In 2014, the DC Council and Mayor Vincent C. Gray approved funding to support the implementation of the Workforce Intermediary Pilot Program that is administered through the DC Workforce Investment Council (WIC). Building off of nationally-recognized best practices and the recommendations of a specially appointed Workforce Intermediary Task Force, the initiative is bringing together multiple stakeholders connected to two target industries - hospitality and construction - to develop and implement training and placement strategies that help employers in these key sectors fill immediate and long-term skill needs.
The Workforce Intermediary is building on existing workforce and education programs to promote a shared understanding of industries' workforce needs, advance training that meets those needs, coordinate services for job-seekers; and help employers find qualified job candidates.
Hospitality Sector Strategy
The WIC has focused initial efforts on job placement and training strategies targeting the hospitality industry, which serve both job seekers and businesses. Based on conversations with employers and training providers and an analysis of labor market data, the WIC is implementing this component of the workforce intermediary strategy in two distinct phases – a job placement phase and a training phase.
The WIC awarded a performance-based grant to fund a job placement partner that is responsible for screening and assessing eligible DC residents for immediate job opportunities in the hospitality industry. The grantee, Grant Associates, began operations as Hospitality Connections in December 2013, and is working closely with participating businesses to identify minimum employment standards and provide job development services to ensure that candidate referrals are carefully matched to their needs. They are recruiting job seekers from a broad spectrum of District workforce service providers to help meet industry needs.
The WIC also awarded two performance-based grants to fund job training and related services to eligible District residents in hospitality industry occupations. DC Central Kitchen was awarded a grant to provide training in culinary arts occupations and the University of the District of Columbia – Community College (UDC-CC) was awarded a grant in partnership with Goodwill of Greater Washington and Progressive Partners LLC to provide training in hotel occupations. Both grantees began using these funds in April 2014 to expand the capacity of their existing programs by serving additional participants and enhancing program offerings.
A Hospitality Industry Advisory Committee consisting of representatives from hotel and restaurant industry associations, businesses, and labor unions is assisting the WIC in overseeing the program and ensuring that program services are meeting the needs of employers in the hospitality industry.
Construction Sector Strategy
Based on conversations with construction industry firms, labor unions, and training providers and an analysis of labor market data, the WIC plans to implement this component of the workforce intermediary strategy by funding services that help District residents connect to or remain in apprenticeship or other pathways to journey worker or skilled laborer opportunities. The WIC is soliciting Workforce Intermediary grants (see “Requests for Applications (RFA) for Workforce Intermediary Services” below) to fund two program models: (1) pre-apprenticeship training for at least 50 jobseekers that incorporates federally endorsed curricula and credentials and prepares participants for career opportunities in the construction sector; and (2) support services for at least 50 and up to 100 jobseekers participating in construction workforce efforts supported through the District, assisting them with employment barriers both during training and after placement in apprenticeship or other employment. Grantees will work in partnership with the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services’ (DOES) planned Center for Construction Careers, which will be housed in the DC American Job Center – Southeast in Ward 8, and will provide intake, tracking, and placement services to assist construction employers in identifying skilled workers. In addition to working with Workforce Intermediary grantees, the Center for Construction Careers will also provide intake, tracking, and placement services to assist construction employers more broadly in identifying skilled workers.
The WIC will convene a Construction Industry Advisory Committee consisting of representatives from DOES, employers, labor unions, and industry associations that help guide the efforts of grantee(s) under this solicitation and provide input on the broader workforce system’s construction-related efforts.
Request for Applications (RFA) for Workforce Intermediary Services
The WIC anticipates awarding several grants for various workforce intermediary-related services in both the hospitality and construction industries.
The following RFAs are currently active:
- A Construction Pre-Apprenticeship and Support Services RFA was posted on the Office of Partnerships and Grants Services District Grants Clearinghouse web page on June 20, 2014. Interested applicants should review this RFA and all attachments, and utilize the following link to apply to this solicitation: Grant Application Link - Apply Here. Applications are due on July 23, 2014 at 4 pm and must be submitted online.
The following RFAs are no longer active and/or have already been awarded: