Workforce Development

Our Workforce Development interventions focus on understanding the best practices for workforce development training and the support needed for Black women to be successful in the workplace. Anti-Black racism and diversity, equity, and inclusion training are foundational to our corrective strategies.

Roadmap to Change

Increase coordination and leverage local governmental efforts

Increase access to training, job, and career opportunities

Transform employer and workforce development cultures, shifting to a trainee-centered or employee-centered approach

Research and evaluate workforce development efforts for Black women East of the River, including continuous data monitoring for equitable outcomes

Workforce Development

Our Interventions Include:

Landscape analysis. To help Black women navigate the web of workforce development services we focused on understanding the scope of services currently available. We plan to curate the best practices for training and supporting Black women for good jobs and will create a map of workforce development opportunities and outline the concrete steps necessary to take advantage of various programs.

Workforce development data coordination entity. We will develop a data coordination system to monitor equity in workforce training, placement, and retention for Black women East of the River. We aim to build a baseline of race specific and culturally competent data, which will be updated annually and that will build comprehensive, multi-year data that identifies trends and improves the workforce development system across the D.C. area.

Scholarships for pursuing or advancing in health-related careers.  Careers in the health field frequently require advanced training, licensing or certification, making it a field with a high barrier to entry. This fund will provide ongoing, wrap-around support for Black women participating in workforce development, professional development, or advanced degree programs focused in the health-related field. An essential piece of the program will support Black women who continue to have difficulty finding jobs after completing workforce development training. 

Apprenticeship opportunities. By engaging Black women in all aspects of planning and program development, apprenticeships for health-related careers that engage government, business, and nonprofit resources will facilitate the advancement of Black women in these roles. 

Health-related career programs for youth. Workforce development must begin with providing youth and young professionals clear paths to successful careers. These programs will bolster opportunities for youth at middle and high schools in the District as well as with summer employment programs to put more youth on track to succeed in health-related fields.


Unemployment levels among Black D.C. residents have risen by 32%


City-wide household income has grown 15.5%, but wages for Black residents have remained unchanged


Black women in the U.S. earn on average 36% less than white men

Ariane Hegewisch and Eve Mefferd, “Lost Jobs, Stalled Progress: The Impact of the ‘She-Cession’ on Equal Pay

Workforce Development Employer Forum

A thought leader forum will promote the best practices identified through the landscape analysis and highlight employers who have successfully advanced partnerships with community-based workforce development providers. The forum will begin as a series of four meetings, with the aim to create an annual conference.

Research Examining Racial Equity in Workforce Development and Family-Sustaining Wages

The lack of comprehensive data about the experiences of Black women in the workforce has a ripple effect on the types of services and support offered, frequently resulting in services that do not fully meet their needs. Black Women Thriving East of the River aims to produce evidence of the value of family sustaining wages in Washington, D.C.

Health Career Pathways Resources Map

An employment website will be a resource for Black women, providing support to effectively identify the jobs and career pathways that best align with their personal and professional goals. The website will include comprehensive detail about various careers, including training and support to enter the position, as well as the different career opportunities.

Employer Training Series

With training for employers, we aim to shift employer culture toward more understanding, supportive, and equitable policies, and practices. Proposed training areas include addressing anti-Black racism/misogynoir, trauma-informed care, cultural humility, bias, and stigma.