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Closing The Skills Gap

Yesterday’s “In The News” highlighted this piece from DCentric; and I think that its thesis bears repeating. As author Elahe Izadi points out, “Many of the available jobs in the District, the ones that attract people from around the country, require advanced degrees. This mismatch, or skills gap, means many of those born and raised within the District are increasingly being left out of its economic success.” Many residents of low-income DC communities also lack access to computers and high-speed internet and “about 20 percent of District adults are functionally illiterate.”

How, and when, can we resolve the “skills gap” problem? To start, here are a few Catalogue nonprofits who are working to do precisely that. We absolutely would suggest learning more about their work and their needs.

For adults …

Southeast Ministry: Offering GED prep classes and job preparedness programs, SEM focuses both on academics and on self-esteem and self-sufficiency; private tutorials in math, science, social studies, arts, and writing skills are all available. (They feature prominently in DCentric’s article)

Byte Back: Through intensive computer literacy and employment readiness courses, low-income and unemployed individuals gain the technological skills to navigate the job market; Byte Back also offers computer classes for senior citizens through a partnership with the DC Public Libraries.

New Course Restaurant and Catering: The service is impeccable at this lunch place on 3rd & E Street NW; many diners don’t know that the kitchen staff is engaged in “on-the-job” training and the restaurant is a program for the chronically unemployed or homeless.

STRIVE DC: Reaching out to the growing number of hard-to-employ adults, STRIVE DC enrolls clients in an intense, 3-week program that teaches the rudiments of applying for and keeping a job — from dressing appropriately to operating as a team.

And for students …

DC Students Construction Trades Foundation: Jobs as engineers, carpenters, electricians, and construction managers are all here in the District; the Foundation is committed to rejuvenating school and industry commitment to technical education.

Alexandria Seaport Foundation: ASF provides young people with paid, hands-on experience; they learn math, science, English, and history in the context of boat building, plus skills that translate into a living wage.

Find a full list of Catalogue nonprofits dedicated to life skills and job training right here.

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