This is NOT the DC of Your Father (... or, mine)
The Washington DC I knew when I worked on the Hill in 1962 no longer exists. That was before the METRO, before MLK's historic speech, before JFK's tragic end in Dallas ... it was a long time ago. At that time in the burgeoning expansion after WWII and Korea ... before Viet Nam there were plenty of jobs for all levels of people here in the city. DC was often the first stop (or, the last) for many fleeing the low pay, segragated towns and cities of the last of the old south. DC was a jobs haven for low skilled young and energetic people. Those days are long gone. The Government Printing Office will never again need all those paper folders, typists, clerks, and even porters (we now have fork lifts) Modern technology has largely obviated most of those "entry" level jobs.
No Low Skilled, High Paying Jobs
Although some of those jobs exist in the hospitality and convention fields, the DC job of today is high tech, computer literate, and well, very well educated. Quite frankly, it is so competitive that getting a job as a file clerk (yes, there are still some of those) is difficult... one needs a Masters Degree for even very low payed entry level jobs ... AND the federal government is cutting back and under an austerity jobs freeze. A high school education today is not much help in getting a job. The unemployment rate for people of color with a high school education is about 19% ... but, for those without, it is still only 20%. One percentage point for a four year high school education. The market has devalued secondary education it would seem. Recently published stats on US education are not very good when we compare out kids to other countries ... BUT, what about here in DC! Where are we going to get employment for the folks in Ivy City where illiteracy runs 30 to 40% by some estimates?
Training is NOT Education
Education is about Concept - Training is About Tasks
The answer is job training and NOT education! Too much of what is called training today is really education. in adult education we need a new paradigm. It needs to be Adult Training. When the training is over people need to be able to perform on the job and not just answer multiple choice questions. Recently a construction project here in DC had to shut down its Concrete pouring operation ans sub contract it out to an outside vendor because the crew that had been hired form a DC based so called jobs training program were incompetent. ... more on DC Jobs and how we plan to create new industry and new green jobs in coming blogs ... stay tuned!