FY 09 & 10 Performance Oversight Hearing: Department of

Employment Services Good morning, I am Michael Brown, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Housing and Workforce Development. It is Friday, March 5, 2010. We are in the Council Chamber, Room 500 of the historic John A. Wilson Building. The time is ______am. I am calling to order the fiscal years 2009-2010 Performance Oversight Hearing

for the Department of Employment Services. Today the Committee will receive testimony from the public. When we finish we will recess the hearing until Monday, March 15th at 1pm in Room 120, when we will welcome DOES director Joseph Walsh to present the executive’s testimony on the agency. I am pleased that Mr. Walsh will attend as much of today’s hearing as he can and he will have many of his deputies who handle the specific issue areas that we will discuss, here throughout the day. As we all know, jobs and employment issues are at the forefront of President Obama’s agenda. With the economy still floundering and unemployment here in the District over 12% and

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as high 28% in some parts of the city, now more than ever we must make sure we maximize our existing resources and find innovative ways to give residents of the District of Columbia every advantage and every opportunity to work in their city. Stable employment, affordable housing and quality education are the keys to stabilizing our most challenged neighborhoods. Job training and preparing District residents to succeed in the workplace must continue to be the focus of the Department’s operations. Key questions must be asked: • Are we are training our residents in industries where jobs currently exist or where they are projected to exist in the near future? • How do we measure outcomes related to job training? • How do we ensure that our youth workforce development programs provide meaningful experiences year-round that set our youth up for success?

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• What steps can we take to make a trip to a one-stop location more than just a frustrating exercise and a waste of time? • How do we partner with our community and faith based groups and the University of the District of Columbia to ensure a seamless continuum of services that can address the needs of all residents whether they simply require job referral services or they need full adult literacy and basic education services? One answer to each of these questions is we need a major infusion of resources in each area. BUT it is not that simple. It is going to take deliberate focus and attention from the entire government to find solutions in a holistic manner that help District residents address not only their employment needs but other barriers to success. In addition to workforce development, DOES also

administers the District’s unemployment benefits program. Over the past year we have worked with the executive to pass emergency legislation that will allow us to use the federal stimulus
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dollars to extend the number of weeks that residents can receive unemployment assistance. As we near completion of the

permanent version we have had good dialogue and agreement from Mr. Walsh with the Committee’s approach to increase

unemployment benefits and the circumstances under which residents can apply. As District residents seek to weather these trying financial times they need to know that reliable and prompt access to these important benefits exists and we will work diligently with the Department to make sure that systems are in place to keep and strengthen this important safety net for our residents. Under my leadership the Committee will continue to work as hard as it can to provide meaningful oversight of the important functions within DOES. This is critical to ensure that we are using our resources to maximize services to meet the needs of District residents. The Committee understands the reality of the District’s overall budget but we understand even more that providing for

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those most in need should be first on the list when setting priorities for the provision of services in our great city.

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