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Where DC Spends Its Workforce Development Dollars: A Resource Map

January 11, 2012
January 10th, 2012 | by Elissa Silverman

Today, DCFPI is releasing a “resource map” of workforce development services in the District of Columbia. This project, a culmination of nearly two years of effort, offers a visual way to see how our city spends its resources on services to help residents get and retain jobs. We hope it’s a policy brief that would make the character Rod Tidwell—“Show Me The Money”—in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire proud.

Many states assemble similar resource guides every few years to help elected and appointed officials set strategic workforce policy. The map shows what the District spends on workforce development, what services are offered and who is served. Accompanying the map is additional information—where it was made available by agencies — on grantees including non-profit organizations, colleges and for-profit training providers.

A copy of the map is here. Over the next few days, we will go into some detail to explain it.

Today, we’ll share a few general notes on the map and how it was put together. The map reflects spending in Fiscal Year 2010, the most recent year in which we could obtain accurate information, though we include Fiscal Year 2011 dollars for the University of the District of Columbia Community College to reflect its evolving size and mission. We contacted every DC agency we thought is likely to have workforce development services, in our effort to obtain the most accurate picture of services offered and money spent. We also worked with the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, the mayor’s budget office, and various advocates involved in workforce development.

The map is intended to be a snapshot of funding and services not a precise audit of dollars.

What are a few big takeaways from the map? First, the Department of Employment Services isn’t the only agency involved in workforce development in DC. The map shows that there are a dozen agencies involved in helping residents enter and re-enter the workforce. The Department of Employment Services plays a big role, but agencies including the Department of Human Services and the Office of the State Superintendent also have significant funding.

What doesn’t the map speak a lot about? Very simply, outcomes. How many residents get employment after engaging in these programs and services? There is very little information available on that. Given our limited resources, it is valuable to know what services are most effective. We hope our elected and appointed officials will improve the data on outcomes and build in accountability measures in upcoming years.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about the major federal funding sources in workforce development and how they are deployed to help DC residents.

This report was posted on January 10th, 2012 by Elissa Silverman and is filed under Blog: The District’s Dime.
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