(Washington, DC) – Mayor Muriel Bowser today opened the DC Infrastructure Academy, a partnership between DC Government and utility, union, university, and private sector partners that will provide a pipeline to in-demand infrastructure jobs. Through private and public partnerships, the DC Infrastructure Academy will provide high-quality, specialized trainings and other workforce development programs that help District residents secure high-paying, long-term employment in the infrastructure industry.
“The DC Infrastructure Academy is a pathway to the middle class,” said Mayor Bowser. “As the infrastructure industry continues to grow, we want DC residents to be first in line for these high-paying jobs. Through the DC Infrastructure Academy, we will ensure that more Washingtonians have the skills and knowledge they need to secure a career in a wide-range of growing fields, from utility and transportation to operations and green technologies.”
Modeled after similar and successful programs in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Georgia, the DC Infrastructure Academy will provide residents with the necessary skills to maintain careers in one of the fastest growing industries in the nation. The Academy, which brings multiple infrastructure related workforce development programs together under one roof, will focus on serving underemployed and unemployed residents. In 2017, the District’s infrastructure sector included 6,753 jobs, with 2,231 job openings and only 1,246 hires, representing a shortage of nearly 50 percent in an industry with an average hourly wage of $48.75. By year 2021, the District’s infrastructure sector will increase by 11 percent and almost 20 percent by year 2026.
The Infrastructure Academy is being funded by the Mayor’s $16.75 million commitment in the District’s capital budget and a $5.2 million contribution to workforce development programs that Pepco provided in the Exelon-Pepco merger preceding. In addition, Pepco and Washington Gas have both agreed to provide $500,000 each in cash contributions, donated human resources, equipment, and other in-kind materials and services over the first five years of the Academy’s operation. The Department of Employment Services operates the DC Infrastructure Academy and works with public and private sector partners to align trainings and programs.
“The Infrastructure Academy represents a strong public-private partnership, and we thank Mayor Bowser for her leadership in this program that will open doors of opportunity for so many people,” said Bill Von Hoene Jr., Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Exelon. “Workforce development is a key priority for Exelon and Pepco, which is why we have committed more than $5 million to job creation and training in Washington, DC, which will strengthen the entire community.”
“At Pepco and the entire Exelon family of companies, we are focused on the best possible ways to develop and employ diverse talent from the areas we serve,” said Dave Velazquez, President and CEO of Pepco Holdings. “That is made concrete here in the District through the Infrastructure Academy.”
The DC Infrastructure Academy builds on a series of efforts and initiatives developed by the Bowser Administration to connect DC residents to sustainable, high-paying careers in the infrastructure industry. Just last year, the Mayor launched Solar Works DC, a job training program that installs cost-saving solar energy systems on the homes of low-income residents, and the DC Quick Path to Energy Program, a workforce development training program that connects residents to employment in the utilities industry.
Mayor Bowser was joined at the opening by City Administrator Rashad Young; Bill Von Hoene, Jr., Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Exelon; David Velazquez, President and CEO at Pepco; Adrian Chapman, President and COO at Washington Gas; Ronald Mason, Jr., President, University of District of Columbia; Paul Wiedefeld, General Manager at WMATA, and Henderson Brown, General Manager at DC Water.