DC Doing Business Guide

DC Government Employer Resources

The Department of Employment Services (DOES)

The District government is an asset you can use to assist with your employee recruitment efforts. The Department of Employment Services has implemented a number of assistance programs for small businesses that can help attract qualified talent.

4058 Minnesota Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20019 (202) 724-7000 · does.dc.gov · does@dc.gov

Business Services Group

The Business Services Group (BSG) aligns business engagement strategy with the DOES workforce development mission by connecting job-ready District residents to District employers. BSG provides a variety of concierge services to District employers at no additional cost, including assisting businesses with registering in DC Networks for recruitment purposes and co-hosting job applicant pre-screening and hiring events at local American Job Centers. BSG also leverages DOES programs such as On-the-Job Training, the Senior Community Service Employment Program, Project Empowerment, and the Learn, Earn, Advance, Prosper initiative to establish a talent management pathway, bridging skilled job seekers with employer workforce needs. If you are interested in partnering with the DOES Business Services Group, call (202) 741-5308 or email bsg@dc.gov.

DC American Job Centers – Integrated Career Delivery System

American Job Centers are part of a nationwide system that offers job seekers, students, businesses, and career professionals access to a comprehensive array of employment-related services and tools in one convenient location.

DCNetworks.org is the online equivalent of the American Job Centers system. DCNetworks.org is an advanced, comprehensive, and integrated web-based system that provides job seekers, training providers, employers, and unemployment insurance applicants with 24-hour access to the agency’s employment-related program services and resources. It also provides access to local, regional, and national labor market information.

The American Job Centers and DCNetworks.org allow employers to post job openings and review the resumes of our registered customers. The DOES offers a unique benefit to employers by offering to pre-screen potential applicants for their workforce needs. (202) 724-7000 · dcnetworks.org

First Source

The District’s First Source law ensures that District residents are given priority for new jobs created by municipal funding and development programs. The law requires that 51% of all new hires on any government-assisted project or contract between $300,000 and $5 million be District residents.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit (See Chapter 5, Financial Incentives)

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a federally-funded program that reduces the federal tax liability of private forprofit, and in some instances nonprofit employers hiring new employees from eligible target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. Recently, the Path Act of 2015 extended WOTC retroactively for new hires from December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2019.

Employer Benefits:

  • For WOTC certified new hires working at least 120 hours, employers can claim 25% of the first year wages paid up to $6,000 for a maximum income tax credit of $1,500.
  • For WOTC certified new hires working 400 hours or more, employers can claim 40% of the first year wages up to $6,000 for a maximum income tax credit of $2,400.
  • The PATH Act retroactive extension applies to individuals who begin work for an employer (and are certified under any of the existing current target groups) after December 31, 2014.
  • The PATH Act provisions that cover the new target group apply to individuals who begin to work for an employer after December 31, 2015.

Learn, Earn, Advance, Prosper

The Learn, Earn, Advance, Prosper (L.E.A.P) initiative is a network of interconnected partners utilizing the “earn-andlearn” approach that will link unemployed DC residents with employment, education, and training opportunities. The earn-and-learn approach applies the apprenticeship model to skill development, allowing individuals to earn a wage while participating in on-the-job training experience. The District government seeks to partner with private businesses that can serve as host employers for L.E.A.P. participants. For more information about L.E.A.P, call (202) 442-4646 or email leap.does@dc.gov.

Project Empowerment

Project Empowerment (PE), an initiative of the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services, connects DC, Maryland, and Virginia businesses with District residents who are willing, ready, and qualified to work. Project Empowerment partners with businesses to recruit, train, match, and coach candidates for successful employment.

By partnering with DOES, businesses can help the agency put job-ready candidates to work while mitigating their hiring costs. Project Empowerment works with DC-area businesses by connecting them with candidates who have been provided with training, coaching, and job support. After completing this program, candidates have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience while their wages are subsidized by the District of Columbia government for up to six months.

Employer Benefits:

  • Protection through the Federal Bonding Program. A bond can be issued to the employer as soon as the applicant has a job offer with a date scheduled to start work. The federal bond protects employers against employee dishonesty; it covers any stealing, theft, forgery, larceny, and embezzlement.
  • No federal regulations covering bonds issued
  • Employers receive the Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Job Retention and Case Management

The job retention staff works with new employees for approximately six months to ensure that they have necessary support to succeed on the job.

Target Audience

To participate in the PE Program, individuals must be District of Columbia residents, 22-54 years old, be currently unemployed, and lack a secondary school educational credential (high school diploma or its recognized equivalent, e.g. GED).

Contact DOES to see if your business might be a good fit to employ and coach a Project Empowerment candidate, at no cost to you. Call (202) 698-5599, or email does@dc.gov for more information.

On-The-Job Training Program

On-the-Job training (OJT) is a workforce development strategy where employers of all sizes have an opportunity to train, mentor, and hire candidates as they become fully proficient in a particular skill set or job function. Prescreened and job-ready candidates are matched with employers willing to provide skills-based, on-the-job training. DOES will provide wage reimbursement from 50-75 percent of the candidate’s salary for one to six months (in some cases up to one year) for qualifying District of Columbia residents and employers. OJT employers maintain complete control over hiring decisions, and are assigned a DOES liaison to initiate recruitment efforts and provide support throughout the length of the OJT agreement. Clearly written agreements detail the individual training outline, objectives, duration of agreement, and reimbursement rate. Wage reimbursements will be administered to employers within net 30 days (upon receipt of invoice).

Desired occupations are those that will develop a marketable skillset during the term of the On-the-Job training, including:

  • Administration
  • Property management
  • Assistant manager
  • Merchandising
  • Account executive
  • Court reporting
  • Healthcare and data coding
  • Information technology and cyber security
  • Law enforcement
  • Mechanical engineering, diesel technicians, and auto mechanics
  • Hospitality
  • HVAC
  • Transportation services

For more information on how to become an OJT employerpartner, contact us at (202) 899-3690, or email ojt@dc.gov.

Veterans’ Employment Program

The Department of Employment Services proudly serves veterans and other eligible persons by providing resources and expertise to assist and prepare them to maximize their employment opportunities and protect their employment rights. A range of federally funded services mandated by the VOW to Hire Heroes Act and the Jobs for Veterans State Grant authorize each state to hire veteran-specific staff, known as the Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program Specialist (DVOP) and the Local Veterans’ Employment Representative (LVER) who provide a variety of employment-related services to veterans and eligible persons.

Veterans Services

The DVOP staff provide intensive level services to veterans identified to have significant barriers to employment by conducting individual assessments, employment counseling referrals to occupational skills training, career readjustment assistance, and job seeker and placement services, including resume preparation, interviewing skills and techniques, and job matching. The LVER staff conducts employer outreach activities; attends job fairs, career fairs, and hiring fairs; facilitates employment related workshops; and works with employers and members of the Business Services Group (BSG) to identify viable employment, training, apprenticeship, and internship opportunities for veterans.

Veterans with Service-Related Disabilities

The law neither prohibits nor requires affirmative action on behalf of individuals with disabilities. An employer may hire a qualified individual with a disability (including a veteran with a service-related disability) over a qualified applicant without a disability.

Recruitment Process For Veterans with Service-Related Disabilities

Employers may post advertisements and vacancy announcements with the DOES Job Bank. They may also send vacancy announcements and request referrals from the DC American Job Centers at does.dc.gov/service/american-job-center.

Apprenticeship Program

The Apprenticeship Program offers on-the-job training opportunities, combined with classroom instruction, to teach workers the practical and theoretical aspects of highly skilled occupations, including construction, electrical, plumbing/ HVAC, and carpentry trades. Applicants must meet the sponsor’s eligibility requirements and demonstrate that they have the ability, aptitude, and education to master the basics of the occupation.

Participation Eligibility Criteria

Apprenticeship sponsors must be approved by a state or federal apprenticeship registration agency for certification. Apprenticeship sponsors may grant applicants credit toward apprenticeship training for prior work or training in the occupation or trade area.

An apprentice is a worker who is at least 16 years old, except where a higher minimum age standard is otherwise fixed by law, who is employed to learn an apprenticeable occupation as provided. However, in the District of Columbia, the general qualifications for apprenticeships vary by craft; the general qualifications for apprenticeship selections are typically:

  • Drug-free
  • Physically able to do the work of the specified trade/occupation
  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Access to reliable transportation, particularly for construction trades
  • A high school transcript may be required.
  • There are more than 800 apprenticeship trades recognized nationally. For more information contact the Office of Apprenticeship Information and Training at (202) 698-5099 or does.dc.gov.