DC creates new pathway from HBCUs to local government

Leaders in D.C. are establishing a new pathway to local government jobs for students who graduate from historically Black colleges and universities in the District.

There are two such schools — known as HBCUs — in D.C., including Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia.

“We’re going to continue to bring the best and brightest graduating students from HBCUs to D.C. government,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “[If] you want to change communities one block at a time, the place you go is local government.”

The initiative, which is called the “HBCU Public Service Program,” allows students graduating from HBCUs in D.C. to sign up for a yearlong paid apprenticeship with a local D.C. government agency.

After the year is done, participants will be eligible for full-time employment in D.C. government.

Applications for the program open in February.

“Wherever I go in the city, I see talented people,” said Bowser. “We want all of our residents to be able to participate in a prosperous D.C.”

Starting in June, the first group of students accepted into the program will consist of 25 Howard and UDC graduates who will be placed with participating District agencies.

Participants will also be eligible to enroll in professional development courses led by the city’s Department of Employment Services.

Those interested in applying must maintain District residency throughout their year of the apprenticeship and to qualify for full-time employment within District government.

“Howard University has been an engine of change, providing students with opportunities to learn and grow in ways that truly prepare them to be successful when they begin the next chapter of their lives,” said Ben Vinson III, president of Howard University.

“This program will play a key role in ensuring that the talent we see from our dynamic students will be able to assist with fortifying our local government,” said Vinson.

Maurice Edington, president of UDC, added that “preparing students for careers in public service is a key component of our mission.”

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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