The Work Place DC will become the “go to” place for DC residents who seek skills enhancement and job placement and for employers who want access to high quality, job–ready, employee candidates.

With education, training, and support, all low-income/low-skilled DC residents who desire employment will secure employment that leads to economic self-sufficiency and improved quality of life. The Work Place DC will significantly decrease the number of under- and unemployed DC residents.


Engage business, government, community based organizations, and individuals to provide a continuum of holistic, high quality workforce development programs and services to DC residents in one location that will lead to job-ready employee candidates, job placement, economic self-sufficiency, and improved quality of life.

TWPDC Concept Paper and Business Model

TWPDC executive summary

Guiding Principles

For each organization providing programs and services at TWPDC, the primary goal is to place DC residents into jobs that have potential for economic growth and job mobility. To that end, organizations located at TWPDC would agree to work collaboratively to ensure that all programs and services are of high quality and have high impact. In addition, TWPDC organizations would commit to collaborations that would reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and build the capacity of TWPDC and each individual organization housed in the Center.

The Work Place DC is guided by the following principles:

1. Collaboration and sharing of knowledge between all stakeholders will optimize impact:

All organizations affiliated with TWPDC agree to put the common purpose of helping DC residents obtain and retain employment above all else; at all times partners agree to collaborate, freely share information and knowledge, and build capacity and resources.

2. Create a workforce development system that is equitable and supportive for all DC residents:

All organizations agree to create a DC workforce development system in which everyone is respected and everyone is encouraged to achieve their potential. As required, TWPDC stakeholders will advocate for policies and systems that will improve and strengthen DC’s workforce development system.

3. Dual customer approach:

To be effective and to maximize impact, all stakeholders will work to create programs and services that meet the needs of the Center’s two customers: employees and employers. TWPDC will actively seek input and feedback from the DC business community and participants.

4. Continuous Program Improvement:

All organizations agree to establish a common set of quality indicators that will be used to evaluate the impact of programs and services and identify areas for improvement. TWPC will also evaluate the combination of programs and services offered to ensure that the mix of services provided best meet the needs of participants and employers.

Collective impact

Every 12-months, we estimate that TWPDC partners will collectively serve at least 4,000 DC residents. During the past 12-months, partners achieved the following:

TWPDC Partner Totals for Past 12-Months

  • Total Served:  4,318
  • Number Obtaining Employment:  1,198
  • Number Advancing one or more educational levels:  209
  • Number Obtaining GED or high school diploma: 141
  • Number Registering to Vote:  71
  • Number Completing basic computer training:  823
  • Number completing advanced computer training:  618
  • Refurbished computers (made available to low-income households):  400
  • Number provided professional clothing for interviews and employment:  200

TWPDC Advisory Board 2013-2014

Lecester Johnson – Executive Director

  • Academy of Hope
  • lecester@aohdc.org
Kelley Ellsworth – Executive Director

  • Byte Back
  • kellsworth@byteback.org
Tara Libert – Executive Director

  • Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop
  • tara@freemindsbookclub.org
Bob Wittig – Executive Director

  • Jovid Foundation
  • bobwittig@gmail.com
Marina Streznewski – Executive Director

  • DC Jobs Council
  • mstreznewski@dcjobscouncil.org
Lawrence Taylor – Move Up Counselor

  • Jubilee Jobs
  • ltaylor@jubileejobs.org
Ed DeJesus – Executive Director

  • edward.dejesus@strivedc.org


In 2008-09, a group of Jovid Foundation workforce development grantee organizations analyzed the barriers that face unemployed and underemployed DC residents seeking work that leads to self sufficiency. The group recognized that job seekers face a multiplicity of barriers and a welter of competing service providers, who typically provide services ‘in a silo’ without coordinating care with those who address other needs of their clients.

As an outgrowth of this effort, the group began exploring ways to address these issues. A key option to emerge was the idea of co-locating complimentary agencies who would agree to coordinate services to address comprehensively the needs of job seekers, i.e., The Work Place DC (TWPDC).

At present, TPWDC is fiscally sponsored by the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.

What is TWPDC?

TWPDC is a collaborative of nonprofit organizations working together to provide a coordinated set of workforce development services to low-income adults in DC. Our goal is to co-locate TWPDC partners in a nonprofit center and provide a single point of entry for adults in need of one or more workforce development services (e.g. case management, adult literacy, job training, and job placement). Through co-location, the expertise of TWPDC partners will be better leveraged. TWPDC partners believe that we are able to provide better quality of service, improve coordination and collaboration among providers and increase employment outcomes for individuals facing significant barriers. Together, TWPDC partners will have much greater impact than they would alone.

TWPDC partners are committed to:

  • Providing low-skilled, unemployed, and underemployed DC residents with programs and services that help them acquire the necessary education and skills that will lead to employment, economic self-sufficiency and increased civic engagement.
  • Providing employers with high quality employees who are work ready and who help employers meet DC’s First Source legislation requirements.
  • Creating a network of service providers, employers, and community stakeholders who are committed to providing wrap-around services that support both the employee and employer to help ensure job retention and job success.

TWDPC serves two customers: those seeking jobs and those providing employment. Employers are key and TWPDC endeavors to engage employers at every stage of our efforts and service offerings.

To increase the number of employment ready DC residents, TWPDC will offer the following services on-site:

1. Integrated Case Management:

Case management is essential to the coordinated and efficient delivery of appropriate services. As each client faces different circumstances and employment barriers, it is the job of the case manager to ensure that the client receives services targeted to ensure maximum effectiveness with the most efficient use of time and resources. To ensure that clients can find and keep employment, our case management partner will develop a comprehensive list of service providers (both on-site and off-site) to provide assistance with transportation, child care, health care, and housing.

2. Career Services:

These services are concerned directly with preparing clients for good jobs, placing them in the positions, and laying the groundwork for advancement. It is important to foster the idea of a career, as opposed to simply a job; a career mindset will allow advancement beyond entry level.

3. Adult Literacy and Computer Skills:

The District faces a literacy challenge; 20 percent of all DC adults do not possess even basic literacy skills. TWPDC will offer clients programs and services to help them obtain high school credentials. Further, technological advances mean that employability is dependent upon the acquisition of at least rudimentary computer skills. Financial literacy is also included as TWPDC believes clients need to be educated on how to manage finances and resources while earning regular wages.

4. Workforce readiness/”soft” skills:

Employers express concern about the lack of workforce readiness among potential employees, particularly those facing barriers. Therefore, TWPDC includes the teaching of “soft” skills among the core offerings of the TWPDC program. While skills in a specific trade or profession, along with sufficient literacy levels, will allow a candidate to secure a job, “soft” skills are key to retention and advancement. In too many cases, TWPDC clients have not previously learned these skills in the home, school, or through prior work experience, so it is essential that TWPDC partner agencies teach them.

5. Short-term Certification in High Demand Occupations:

TWPDC will include job-training programs on-site that lead to certifications, within six months or less, in high demand occupations (home care aide, customer service, hospitality, advanced computer skills). Because we will offer training in high demand industries, the likelihood that a TWPDC partner will find a job will be increased.

6. Collective Impact:

Organizations providing services as part of TWPDC will agree to share data and measure outcomes together to assess impact. The belief is that by providing a bundle of services at on-site, the client will be able to access more services, increasing the likelihood of skill acquisition, educational advancement, job placement, job retention, and an improved quality of life. A shared database is currently in development.

7. System change and advocacy:

In many cases, even with the best direct services, clients facing barriers are challenged to find jobs by existing systems, laws, or regulations. Therefore, TWPDC considers it critical to address the systemic challenges that impede the ability of lower-income under- and unemployed DC residents to find and keep good jobs. These efforts include ensuring that all participants in the workforce system are well-equipped with sufficient resources to provide quality services and to use resources effectively.

8. Business cooperative/internships:

Many TWPDC clients do not have employment history. To help remedy this, TWPDC will consider establishing a cooperative business entity that will provide credible on-the-job experience that could be leveraged into employment with other employers.

**The Work Place DC is fiscally sponsored by the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.