Reducing Unemployment With New D.C. Law

D.C. has an unemployment divide; in some neighborhoods, unemployment is 3 percent, while in others it’s 26 percent. One effort to lessen the disparity is to revamp the District’s First Source law, which requires developers receiving city money for projects to fill 51 percent of new jobs with D.C. residents. Mayor Vincent Gray signed a bill into law Wednesday that increases reporting provisions and fines to make certain that developers are meeting hiring requirements; audits have shown that contractors rarely met the requirements under the old law. The new First Source law could help make a dent in high unemployment.

But the law doesn’t apply to private businesses not receiving public money. Hundreds of people have been hired for such businesses through the District’s One City One Hire initiative. Meanwhile, nearly 36,000 D.C. residents remain unemployed.

“The bill that I am signing into law today enhances our ability to do what First Source was originally designed to do: ensure that District residents get hired for projects funded by District taxpayers,” said Mayor Gray. “This legislation ensures that First Source is actually being implemented properly.”

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