The District of Columbia has two basic problems and they’re not unique to the District. These problems exist in cities and states around the country. In short, the District’s economy does not create a sufficient number of living wage jobs; and a significant percentage of its working age population does not possess living wage skills.
These twin problems historically have stemmed from a whole range of politically difficult issues including poorly performing schools, lack of economic opportunities for African-Americans in the District, high rates of incarceration, multiple barriers to employment and a host of other factors.
Faster economic growth doesn’t solve every problem, but without it nothing — not poverty, not inequality, not the District’s housing shortage — literally nothing gets solved.
Economic Growth DC was founded to push, prod, poke and pressure the District government into adopting policies that are conducive to faster economic growth. Faster economic growth is an ironclad basic necessity if you intend to increase the rate at which jobs at all skill levels are created in the District. It’s also the only way the District’s economy will create enough tax revenue to provide the level and scope of services the District says it wants to provide.
At the same time, a distinct lack of in-demand skills prevents a significant pool of District residents from commanding a living wage job. The Economic Growth DC Foundation was created to address this side of the equation by making sure that as many District residents as humanly possible have the skills that prevent them from becoming trapped in a low-skill, low wage career.
We feel we’ll have accomplished our mission when the rate of growth of the District’s economy hits 4% (up from about 2.3% now) and stays there, when the unemployment rate is under 5% in all eight wards of the city, and when 100% of DC students graduate from high school prepared for a four-year college career, a technical training program, an apprenticeship, a career in the military, of some other form of living wage job.
We’ll accomplish these goals by working at the policy level in the areas of economic development, education and workforce development, as well as offering programming that is designed to help District students think critically, express themselves well verbally and in writing, solve problems and collaborate as part of team. For older residents, we advocate for increased attention on adult literacy and adult education, as well as more effective job training programs that train residents properly for the living wage jobs that will exist for the next generation.
You can learn more about these efforts here: Economic Growth DC Foundation.