Good afternoon Chairperson Brown and members of the Committee on Housing & Workforce Development. I am Joseph Walsh, Director the Department of Employment Services, the District’s labor and workforce development agency.
I want to introduce a few of the folks who are here today. To my immediate right is Rennie Chan, who is our agency’s financial officer from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. And also with us is Gurmeet Scoggins another member fo the OCFO staff. During some transition time, while our budget was being put together, it was Gurmeet from the OCFO’s office who was our analyst who helped put our budget together. They are both here to answer any questions that may come up about the budget and finances of the agency.
I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today to discuss the Department’s proposed FY 2011 budget.
Overview of Proposed Budget
Despite the very challenging conditions created by the national economic situation, I am very pleased to report that the Mayor’s proposed FY11 Budget continues to make significant investments in workforce development for the residents of Washington, D.C.
In the FY 2011 budget the Fenty Administration is making continued and unprecedented investments in adult job training and youth employment at a time when many states are cutting back on these vital services. These important investments in developing a skilled workforce are essential to our economic recovery – and for providing hope and opportunity to individuals and families in the District.
These investments are critical at times like these. As we all know this recession has been deeper than recessions of the recent past – it has been a longer, there has been a sharper increase in unemployment, and because of that we anticipate the full job recovery will take longer than was the case with the previous economic downturns in our lifetime. We know that despite the signs of growth in the economy, unacceptably high levels of unemployment may be a reality for some time.. As President Obama said in his State of the Union address, “The worst of the storm has passed. But the devastation remains.”
That’s why our agency’s mission has been and will continue to be to provide the basic services people depend on to make ends meet in this recession – and to develop the long-term programs and strategies that will create pathways that lead to job readiness, educational opportunities, and new jobs.
At the same time, we remain committed to our effort to reform and remake what has unfortunately been an historically under-performing agency – while still providing services in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression.
I’m proud of the many great improvements that the staff at DOES has made over the last year, but we all know that we still have a long way to go to improve our outcomes and provide the customer service that our residents deserve. I would like to highlight a few key programs and priorities in our $121 million FY11 budget proposal, and discuss key programs and priorities.
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