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Division of State Initiatives Partnerships

DC Jail PhotoDivision of State Initiatives Partnerships 

As a major service provider within the District’s reentry and job training ecosystem, the DOES Division of State Initiatives (DSI) is committed to collaborating with government, non-profit, and private service providers in the DMV area to bring specialized services and support to transitional employment program participants. These partnerships offer alternatives to incarceration, legal support, health services, financial support, entrepreneurship counseling and much more. 

Capital Area Asset Builders

Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB) has partnered with Project Empowerment to provide monetary resources and small business training to customers interested in entrepreneurship and achieving financial freedom. Customers can participate in CAAB’s Jobs & Entrepreneurship Stimulus Account Program, which matches participants' savings 8 to 1 for future business and educational goal and expenses.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo works with Project Empowerment customers to discuss financial literacy and the importance of making wise monetary decisions. Participants are also given the opportunity to open free accounts with the financial provider.

ASPIRE to Entrepreneurship

In late summer of 2016, the Department of Small and Local Business Development, the Department of Employment Services, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, Capital Area Asset Builders, and the Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens Affairs collaborated to develop and operate the Aspire to Entrepreneurship Pilot program to support justice-involved DC residents who have an interest in entrepreneurship. In fall of 2016, the first cohort officially launched. In addition to building pathways to the middle class for District resident with barriers to employment, the Aspire to Entrepreneurship Initiative supports the creation and retention of small local businesses in the District of Columbia. The Aspire to Entrepreneurship Initiative is excited to announce it will be launching a second cohort in the spring of 2017.

DC Jail Work Readiness Program

In July of 2015, under Mayor Bowser’s leadership, the Department of Employment Services (DOES) and Department of Corrections (DOC) collaborated to launch the DC Jail Work Readiness Program. This program provides six weeks of intensive work-readiness and life skills training to inmates approaching release from incarceration as well as post-release support and subsidized employment. The program aims to ease the personal, financial, and emotional stresses that returning citizens face upon release, by bringing tailored services directly to them. A critical benefit of the program is that participants are potentially able to start earning a wage almost immediately after being released, providing financial stability during a critical transitional period. The DC Jail Work Readiness Program is an optional program, available to interested eligible residents of all ages who are incarcerated at the DC Jail Central Detention Facility.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • District of Columbia resident
  • Within twelve weeks of DC Jail release date
  • Permission to work in the United States

Program Flow:

The DC Jail Work Readiness Program aims to seamlessly transition DC Jail inmates into the Project Empowerment program upon release. The program has two primary phase

Phase 1: Inmates transfer to the DC Jail Work Readiness Unit, where they receive:

  • Job-readiness and life skills training
  • Basic and intermediate computer training
  • Comprehensive case management conducted by DOC and DOES to determine and prepare for post-release needs

Phase 2: Upon release, DOES Job Coaches enroll interested participants in subsidized Work Experience phase of the Project Empowerment program, which provides up to six months of direct work experience at a host site. The purpose of this time-limited phase of work is to help participants gain real world experience, build positive work habits, and establish a consistent employment record.

Throughout each phase of the program, DC Career Connections offers a host of wraparound services including: transportation benefits, job coaching, substance abuse referrals, mental health referrals, housing referrals, childcare referrals, clothing or uniform assistance, financial counseling, basic computer training, and more.

DC Superior Courts Diversion Program

In the summer of 2016, the DC Superior Court and the Department of Employment Services agreed to collaborate to provide Division of State Initiatives programs as alternatives to incarceration. Currently, District residents with pending non-violent or misdemeanor charges are eligible to avoid or reduce their period of incarceration, and/or have their charges dismissed, by enrolling in and successfully completing either the DC Career Connections or Project Empowerment program. Participants must follow program policies, complete their period of work experience, and obtain permanent employment in order to receive the full benefits of successful completion. The Diversion Program supports the mission of My Brother’s Keeper, a White House initiative launched to improve societal outcomes for men of color.

For more information on the Redirect Diversion Program please contact Ed Moody at 202-698-5599 or [email protected].

Department of Health Greater Access Project

Recognizing that a correlation exists between employment, economic self-sufficiency, a stable home life, and the overall improvement of health for participants and their families, the Division of State Initiatives has partnered with the DC Department of Health to enhance health and wellness services available to program participants. These enhancements include staff training in health and wellness areas, the addition of health workshops to Project Empowerment and the DC Jail Work Readiness Program, and the addition of evidence-based techniques and systems to improve participant’s health and wellness outcomes.

Mayor’s Services Liaison Office

The Mayor’s Services Liaison Office (MSLO) was established in 2001 to help DC Superior Court staff identify and deliver social services to children and families involved in Family Court proceedings by bringing relevant agencies together to educate Court staff on their programs and service offerings. The Division of State Initiatives represents the Department of Employment Services at the MSLO, responding to inquiries related to employment and training.

The Fathering Court

This specialized court is a problem-solving court that has developed an innovative approach to child support cases that involve noncustodial parents returning from incarceration. The program is a court-based partnership between government and private sector organizations that seeks to connect families to resources that will help improve responsible co-parenting. The Division of State Initiative supports the mission of the Fatherhood Court by providing District residents relevant information about DOES programs, services, and resources.

In 2015, Project Empowerment worked IMPAQ International to complete a comparative analysis of the program. Read the final report here: Project Empowerment Comparative Analysis Report – November 2015

Service Contact: Division of State Initiatives

Contact Email: [email protected]

Contact Phone: (202) 698-5599

Contact Fax: (202) 673-6993

Contact TTY: (202) 698-6086

Contact Suite #: DOES Headquarters, Second Floor

Office Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm