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How do we help vulnerable residents remove barriers to education and employment opportunities?

Lead Agency 

Department of Employment Services (DOES)


Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes 

Fiscal Year(s) Funded





Stacy Smith

For More Info

Project Empowerment

Program Summary 

Each year, Project Empowerment provides hundreds, if not thousands, of unemployed residents with barriers to employment opportunities to grow in education and training and find subsidized employment. Project Empowerment partners with DC Government, non-profits, and private businesses to recruit, train, match, and coach candidates for successful employment. 

How does it help? 

Many District residents vulnerable to gun violence want to be employed. They may not have the skills or training needed to get hired and they need help to find, get, and keep a good job. DOES provides support to get into the workforce and enables District residents to secure long-term jobs.

How much is invested?

District Government is committed to pathways to the middle class. DOES receives millions of dollars, both locally and through federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, to support Project Empowerment.

Who uses this program?

District residents 22-54 years old who are currently unemployed and drug-free can apply for the program. District residents 20-24 years old can go into DC Career Connections, which is closely connected to Project Empowerment. Residents must have challenges with employment such as homelessness, education and skills gaps, and criminal background.

  • A $16.10/hour training wage is offered to participants. So, once a District Resident is enrolled in Project Empowerment, they have money coming in the door. 

  • Project Empowerment’s work experience portion of the program is available for up to 12 months to ensure participants have time to get skills and secure an unsubsidized job. 

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