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Project Empowerment Program

Project Empowerment logo

For over fifteen years, Project Empowerment has helped to reduce economic disparity in the District by serving thousands of individuals with multiple barriers to employment. The Program’s work readiness model is designed to provide nearly 700 unemployed District residents with opportunities to grow in education, training, and subsidized employment placements each year. Project Empowerment achieves its mission of moving participants into the workforce by partnering with government, non-profit, and private businesses across the DMV area to recruit, train, match, and coach candidates for successful employment.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for Project Empowerment, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • 22-54 years old
  • District resident
  • Currently unemployed
  • Drug-free – Willing to take Urinalysis drug tests throughout the program

In addition to the above criteria, participants must demonstrate a substantial need for intensive employment assistance by exhibiting at least three (3) of the following:

  • Basic skills deficiency (determined by CASAS testing score)
  • Lack of a secondary education credential (No high school diploma or GED)
  • A documented history of substance abuse
  • Homelessness
  • A history of job cycling (not maintaining steady employment)
  • A conviction of a felony or previously incarcerated

Please Note: Any prospective participants who are recipients of Unemployment Benefits are required to discontinue benefits prior to enrolling in Project Empowerment. Failure to do so will result in prospective participants not being eligible to enter Project Empowerment. Individuals who are currently participating in a TANF work readiness program are not eligible to enroll in Project Empowerment. Additionally, any prospective participants who are recipients of government benefits including, but not limited to, TANF, SNAP (Food Stamps), and Social Security Income are required to disclose their program wages to the appropriate government authorities.

Program Enrollment

Project Empowerment now has an online registration process. Interested individuals should click the link below to register to attend orientation at DOES Headquarters located at 4058 Minnesota Avenue, NE Washington WDC. Once the registration is completed an Intake Specialist will review your request and respond with a confirmation prior to the next available orientation containing attendance details regarding the specific time and date. Thank you for your interest in Project Empowerment.
Project Empowerment Orientation Registration

Program Applicant FAQs

Current Participant FAQs

U.S. Bank Focus Card Pre-Acquisition Disclosure - 2024

Partnerships & Initiatives

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

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: 
Department of Employment Services
Contact Email: 
Contact Phone: 
(202) 698-5599
Contact Fax: 
(202) 673-6993
Contact TTY: 
(202) 698-6086
Contact Suite #: 
2nd Floor
Office Hours: 
Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 5 pm