Happy Presidents'Day! I am realizing that on a campaign, there are no holidays. It's more like Groundhog Day every day, except no Bill Murray sadly.
I found the Post editorial very interesting today on the wrongful conviction task force, and for me it highlighted the importance of oversight and asking hard questions and working hard to get answers. Lives are truly at stake, and we need to make sure we have best practices in place. I was encouraged to see that DC subscribes to many best practices in this area.
One article that also caught my attention was the Style story about Wendell the Water Drop! I think DC Water is a great agency--and I do like Rihanna too--but what really intrigued me was Owen Reilly. He is a DC resident with three kids who obviously wants to work but hasn't found a job. The story profiled Owen as he auditioned to be Wendell. Now this might be a great job for Owen and offer him a way to get into a career. But I wanted to know more about Owen: Why hasn't he been able to find work? What is his educational background? Is child care a barrier for him? For example, if there is a DC Water event at night, would that be a problem?
Mayor Gray deserves credit for focusing on workforce development. He has revived the Workforce Investment Council, pushed for the innovative Workforce Intermediary, and gotten job-ready District residents employment through One City One Hire. As your at-large councilmember, I would work with the WIC and perform oversight over programs like the intermediary and One City One Hire. I'd also be an advocate for residents like Owen, who want a job but haven't been able to get one. I don't think the issue is that we don't have enough money in workforce development. I think we need to do a better job of assessing the barriers to work for our residents--whether it be literacy or child care or transportation--and then putting effective programs in place to remove those barriers. That's what I mean when I talk about strategic investments in our residents. This is what the Workforce Intermediary is designed to do, and I look forward to working with the intermediary, the Workforce Investment Council and fellow members on the Council's Workforce Committee to put in place programs that help Owen find a job, provide for his family, and contribute to the betterment of our city.