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Are workforce opportunity plans too focused on those in the direst straits?

  • Joanna
  • May 10, 2016

Did the District of Columbia’s “D.C. Works” plan leave out a key group of stakeholders?

That’s the contention Eric Sheptock, an advocate for homeless residents of the District. He believes the WIOA program’s drafters have ignored the needs of one rather significant group as they tried to build what Mayor Muriel Bowser has referred to as a “workforce ecosystem” for the nation’s capital city.

“There are a lot of homeless people who are between 25 and 60 years old, Sheptock told the  They’re not parents, they’re not in any legal trouble. They’re able-bodied and ready to work,” Sheptock told the homeless advocacy newspaper Street Sense.

He’s worried that D.C. Works leaves out this group in favor of plans to help those with even more challenging needs. 

That’s not a concern unique to those worried about how WIOA programs will serve the homeless. At all tiers of the economic spectrum are those who are in less dire straits relative to others within any given demographic group, but for whom a dollar well invested in educational and vocational programs could make a tremendous difference.