Bowser touts DC job training program at White House workforce summit – NBC4 Washington

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DC Mayor Muriel Bowser joined leaders from across the country at the White House on Wednesday for a workforce summit led by Vice President Kamala Harris.

The country’s infrastructure has been at the center of President Joe Biden’s agenda since taking office.

Bowser talked about DC’s Infrastructure Academy, where residents can learn job skills in a number of different areas.

The vast majority of the more than 2,300 residents who have enrolled since 2018 have landed well-paying jobs at companies like Pepco and Washington Gas, said Arlen Herrell, who oversees the program.

“Our graduation rate is around 90%, and according to each of our programs, we hover around an 80% employment rate,” he said.

“Depending on the job, when you go out, especially around our basic infrastructure jobs, the average pay is around $22 to $24 an hour,” Herrell said.

Rafael Douglas, a returning citizen, struggled to find a good job. Now he is training for a job at Pepco.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” he said.

“My plans are actually to use this job to not only take care of my family like my mother did when I was a kid, but I also want to start a business,” Douglas said.

The academy offers different types of professional training, including business conduct and internet technology.

Training is free and students are paid the DC minimum wage of $16.10 per hour while they learn.

“It’s great because I can also learn and get paid to do something that I love to do,” Douglas said.

Herrell and Douglas want to encourage other residents to take advantage of the free training.

“We’ve seen district residents who have come out of our program who have become breadwinners for their families,” Herrell said. “We’ve seen people who have bought homes in the district after coming out of our programs and even started their own businesses.”

Students do not need professional skills or degrees to qualify for the academy. Simply be a DC resident 18 years of age or older.

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