Proposed D.C. Budget Would Cut Funding for Job Programs

May 14, 2019

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The D.C. city council will vote Tuesday on more than $17 million in budget cuts that would end programs such as Project Empowerment, which helps previously incarcerated locals return to the workforce.

The council’s proposed budget will cut $17.4 million from several employment and workforce development programs, eliminating resources for more than 1,400 residents starting September 2020.

“As we combat displacement, now is not the time to cut critical programs that equip some of our most vulnerable residents, including returning citizens, with the skills and knowledge they need to secure good-paying jobs,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser in a statement. “We cannot turn our backs on residents who often have the hardest time finding employment. These programs are not only changing lives, but, in many cases, they are saving lives.”

Project Empowerment aids D.C. residents who are unemployed and between 22 and 54 years old. About 390 citizens received jobs through the program, the mayor’s office said. The majority of residents it helps live in Wards 7 and 8.

“Cutting Project Empowerment’s budget is akin to doing a drive-by 3 times a day in every black neighborhood in DC...you would be essentially endangering our communities in the most literal way,” activist Tony Lewis Jr. said on Instagram.

#SaveProjectEmpowerment #DCNative #dontmuteDC

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DC CALL YOUR COUNCIL MEMBER TODAY TO SAVE 17M FROM BEING CUT FROM THE BUDGET TO HELP CITIZENS RETURNING FROM INCARCERATION! @justcuriouspoe @djflexxdc @mrtonylewisjr @betta_mo @redgrant @murielbowser @longlivegogodc @backyardband @rewickedestband @pinkykillacorn @grind_stone @trayonwhite @djricothenoisemaker TAG ANYBODY THAT I DIDNT!

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The proposed cuts would also impact Career Connections, a program that provides work experience for young adults who are unemployed or have recently graduated.

“The Council’s budget cuts will ultimately cause a ripple effect throughout our local workforce,” said Department of Employment Services Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “Reductions in funding for workforce development initiatives, education, and job training services will lead to a rise in unemployment as residents will have limited access to the tools and resources needed to obtain economic stability.”

The council will vote on the budget Tuesday, with a second vote planned later this month.

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