SOME Receives Grant to Help Low-Income DC Residents Launch Careers in Healthcare

July 10, 2017

Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative Announces Investments to Address Regional Employer Hiring Challenges


Three regional consortia will receive grants to help low-income residents launch careers in IT and Healthcare

The Greater Washington Community Foundation’s Workforce Development Collaborative today announced new investments through Greater Washington Works, a $1 million grantmaking initiative. Developed to address hiring challenges that have been persistently reported by local employers, Greater Washington Works will support at least 250 local workers to launch living-wage careers in the IT and Healthcare sectors.

With over 70% of net new jobs requiring post-secondary education and training, the Washington regional economy continues to be highly knowledge-based. Local employers, however, face challenges in finding skilled workers. Nearly 800,000 individuals in our region have no education past high school, highlighting a skills gap that has the potential to undermine our region’s global economic competitiveness. This gap is a particular challenge for employers in higher-skilled industry sectors including IT and Healthcare.

In an effort to address this significant gap and connect local employers to a qualified workforce, Greater Washington Works is issuing multiyear investments in three employer-led regional consortia to help meet the talent needs of local IT and Healthcare employers.

IT and Healthcare Are Regional Economic Drivers

In December 2016, JP Morgan Chase & Co. sponsored the release of a landmark study on the Washington region’s IT and Healthcare workforce challenges, Greater Washington Works IT and Health Careers with Promise. The report examined regional labor market trends and included interviews and focus groups with dozens of regional employers and workforce development stakeholders, focusing on how our region can address the skills gap and lift more of our neighbors out of poverty through careers in IT and Healthcare.  The report finds:

  • 12% projected growth in healthcare employment during 2016-2021.
  • 6% projected growth in IT employment during 2016-2021.
  • 3x growth in IT cybersecurity jobs during 2010-2014 in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
  • $6,500 yearly average salary premium in the nation for cybersecurity specialists compared to other information technology salaries.

The report found that growth will remain robust in both IT and Healthcare, and that demand for workers with the necessary skills and credentials will continue to outstrip supply without additional investment and support. Employers in all industries across Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia will maintain strong demand in the coming years for “middle-skill” workers—those individuals employed in occupations that require postsecondary education and training beyond high school but less than a four-year degree. “Investing in data is a key part of our skill development strategy—without sound information it is impossible to build the industry driven workforce solutions our region needs to succeed,” said Alexis Bataillon, Head of Strategic Initiatives for the Washington, D.C. Region for JPMorgan Chase & Co. The report, developed by Civic Analytics and Oldmixon Consulting, further highlighted the need for increased regional collaboration to address employer hiring needs.

Partnerships Will Address Talent Pipeline Challenges

The Workforce Development Collaborative, a partnership comprised of local foundations, philanthropists, and businesses, is issuing three investments in regional partnerships that are poised to assist Greater Washington employers address their hiring challenges. Grantees were selected by a diverse set of workforce development experts and philanthropists based on the strength of the proposed partnership, connections with local employers, and deep understanding of the needs of our region’s un- and under-employed workers.

Each partnership is a strategic collaboration between regional nonprofits, local government, and IT and Healthcare employers who will work collectively to train and place workers in living wage careers with the opportunity for career advancement. Partnerships will focus on a range of occupations including Computer User Support and Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists. Investments include:

Byte Back

Local unemployed and underemployed residents will get a new chance at tech careers soon with EPIC (Education Partnership for IT Careers). Byte Back, in partnership with the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation-Workforce Services Division, will help workers earn industry-recognized IT certifications and launch living-wage careers. With almost 30 years of collective experience, the two organizations are excited to expand tech opportunities to even more local residents. Additional partners include the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Angarai, PC, DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer, International Software Systems, Nucore Vision, Sage Services Group, SoftCon Enterprises, and Science Systems and Applications.

SkillSource Group

The Northern Virginia IT Employment (NVITE) Partnership, led by Skillsource will provide unemployed and underemployed low-income job seekers with intensive case management, employment coaching and skills training to launch or advance them into entry-level Information Technology living wage careers as Computer User Support Specialists.  The partnership will also address the hiring disconnect between front-line IT hiring managers and corporate HR personnel hiring policies. Additional partners include the Fairfax County Department of Family Services, Stratford University, Intellectual Point, and StrategyUS LLC.

SOME (So Others Might Eat)

SOME’s Center for Employment Training will launch a Healthcare Industry Sector Partnership of leading healthcare employers (including Unity HealthCare, Abundant Health Chiropractic & Wellness Center, and Providence Health System) in Washington, DC and Prince George’s County, Maryland. This partnership will provide ongoing strategic direction and oversight of their employer engagement efforts and provide a hiring pipeline for healthcare employers in the region.  Students will train for careers as Medical Administrative Assistants and Electronic Health Records Specialists.

The Community Foundation’s President, Bruce McNamer, notes that “We believe that this initiative provides important support for our region’s workforce stakeholders—including government, business, nonprofits, and philanthropy—to help support efforts to address the skills gap that underlies the lack of opportunity for so many in our region.” The full report, Greater Washington Works: IT and Health Careers with Promise is available online at  

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Greater Washington Community Foundation

The Community Foundation works to ensure equity, access, and opportunity for all residents in the Washington metropolitan area. Our mission is to strengthen the Washington metropolitan region by encouraging and supporting effective giving and by providing leadership on critical issues in our community. As the region’s largest local grantmaker with grants of more than $70 million last year, we are a community of givers dedicated to inspiring and creating change across the Washington region and beyond.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Around the world, employers, educators, policymakers, training organizations and others have recognized the critical importance of addressing the skills gap. In 2013, JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched a $250 million, five-year global initiative it calls New Skills at Work to address this important challenge. The firm has directed its resources, expertise and global reach to help inform and accelerate demand-driven workforce development systems, engage employers in sector partnerships, support training programs that align with local demand, and prepare youth and adults for careers in high-demand, middle-skill occupations. To advance this work, the company is supporting data analysis in domestic and international markets, including Chicago, Columbus, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Washington DC, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative

The Workforce Collaborative is a coalition of local workforce investors who share a common commitment to addressing poverty and income inequality by helping workers advance their skills and credentials so they can earn family-sustaining wages. Current Collaborative partners include The Community Foundation, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Consumer Health Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, the Moriah Fund, Northern Virginia Health Foundation, Patricia Weiss Fagen, United Way of the National Capital Area, and the Washington Area Women’s Foundation.