George Washington University


Video: Can a TEDTalks-Like Event Boost Ward 8 Employment?

William Atkins / Courtesy of The George Washington University

George Washington University's School of Business dean Doug Guthrie talks (using a wireless mic) about how international investment can boost job creation in Ward 8.

There’s a serious unemployment divide in the District. Some areas have jobless rates as low as 3 percent, and others — like mostly black Ward 8 — have rates as low as 20 percent.

So what’s needed to boost employment in Ward 8? A jobs czar? Bridges and more development? How about having international experts and local activists talk about innovative, new ideas to spur job creation? You know, kind of like TEDTalks, but with a Ward 8 twist.

That’s kind of the idea behind the Major Projects Lab: Ward 8‘s job summit, the result of a partnership between The George Washington University’s School of Business and the Washington, DC Economic Partnership. The summit, held Tuesday at the university’s Foggy Bottom campus, focused on job creation in Ward 8.

Speakers didn’t delve deeply into the “complex social pathologies” that exacerbate and create unemployment disparities — literacy, adult male incarceration, teen pregnancy — because, as WDCEP’s president Steve Moore said, “all it does is solidify the thinking that we [already] have about how to go forward and how we think about economic development change. It seems like it justifies programs that have existed already and haven’t been all that damn successful.”

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