It has recently been announced that, in the month of December, the unemployment rate in the District of Columbia reached 12.1%. This is the highest rate in DC since they began collected the data over 30 years ago, and far higher than our Virginia and Maryland neighbors.
Over the month, 600 additional jobs were added; however, the under-educated unemployed of DC were not qualified for these mostly high-skill positions. And the jobs that would meet the need, in fields such as retail, hospitality, and construction, are hemorrhaging. In an article in this week’s Washington Post, Cynthia Ward, VP of market and account services at a local recruiting and career management firm, blamed the city’s troubled school system, which, she says, has left DC residents unable to compete in the job market with their suburban neighbors. She is quoted as saying, “I graduated from the D.C. public schools, where I had been an A and B student. When I went to college, I discovered I was way behind [other students], especially in writing, and I had to work hard to catch up.”
If this is true, what does it mean for the women at Calvary? Well most of the women we serve are products of this very DC school system Cynthia Ward speaks of, and approximately half do not have a high school diploma. This isn’t even taking into account the trauma or illness the women at Calvary have had to overcome on their way to gainful employment and self sufficiency. Thus, even as we may see the economy stabilize or the stock market on the rise, we must realize that, here in DC, things still aren’t improving. The unemployment rates are still going up and those who are most vulnerable in our community might find themselves with no where else to turn. So, even as the holiday season has passed and a new year has begun, please keep those who are struggling to get back on their feet, like the women at Calvary, on your minds.
Read the full Washington Post article on the increased unemployment rates here.