Jobs Guarantee for DC

We are facing a crisis of violent crime in our city. For far too many people in our city, the streets are offering a better opportunity than our government is. Violence occurs when people feel engaging in crime has more benefits than the alternative of living within the bounds of the law. For most people involved in violence in our city, if they were given the choice between violence and a well-paying, stable job, they would choose the job. But, far too many people aren’t getting that choice. We are trapped in a cycle of violence that has held Washingtonians back for generations. As mayor, I am going to break that cycle.

The best tool to stop violence in our city is by giving people opportunities to provide for themselves and their families in a healthy and productive way. With record-setting budgets, we have an unprecedented opening to make transformative and sweeping investments to get people employed and end violence. It’s time we take advantage. Under my administration, I will implement a historic jobs guarantee program so every single person who wants a job will be offered one. 

This massive workforce will not only make our city safer, but it will allow us to tackle one of the most pressing issues of our time: climate change. DC is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and this is especially true in our most marginalized communities. Our climate crisis has put DC on a path to experience more mold, mosquitoes, rodents, flooding, erratic and extreme weather, and heavy downpours resulting in home damage and water rescues. It has become increasingly clear that transformational policy is required to prevent massive human and economic losses. 

The Climate Jobs Guarantee program I am proposing will put people to work addressing the impacts of climate change and building resiliency and sustainability in our infrastructure. This program will simultaneously guarantee residents job opportunities and training while preparing our communities for climate impacts and transitioning our economy to 100% renewable energy.

These will be stable and good-paying jobs that will provide opportunities for advanced training and career advancement. Working with our labor union partners, we will use apprenticeships to train workers in order to grow our workforce and build people’s capabilities, skills, and technical expertise. One example of these apprenticeships is crosswalk repainting jobs that will kick off an apprenticeship to become a traffic engineer focused on pedestrian and bicyclist safety. This will address the shortage we have of traffic engineers who understand how to plan for bike lanes and safe walking that is a major impediment to meeting DC’s climate goals. Another example is tree planting jobs that lead to apprenticeships to become arborists to manage and replace trees that come down in the heavy storms that are becoming more frequent in DC. We will train community members to be the engineers, arborists, and electricians who fight the climate crisis.

These jobs will accelerate DC’s progress on the goals of decarbonization, ending reliance on fossil fuels and promoting energy efficiency in housing and transportation, increasing pedestrian and bicycle accessibility, protecting our city’s waterways, ensuring food justice, and removing lead pipes. 

Examples of work will include, but not be limited to:

  • Clearing gutters to avoid flooding during heavy downpours
  • Painting crosswalks to make walking a safer option
  • Moving housing energy sources from fossil fuels to clean electricity
  • Housing maintenance
  • Planting trees for shade
  • Installing solar on buildings
  • Rodent and mosquito abatement work
  • Weatherization and other climate-friendly upgrades to public housing such as LED lights, low-flow fixtures, low-emissivity windows, reflective roofing, and insulated walls
  • Installing heat pumps
  • Creating stormwater infrastructure
  • Building and maintaining urban agriculture
  • Removing lead pipes