On Tuesday, September 5, 2017 Collaborative Solutions for Communities attended the Washington DC Department of Employment Services’ (DOES) Evening Town Hall or “Community Conversation” in Ward 8 at The Arc DC on Mississippi Ave SE. Thomas Penny, the President of Donohoe Hospitality Services opened up the event and introduced Odie Donald, the Director of DOES who was the evening’s presenter. Mr. Donald made it clear that he wanted this and the other Community Conversations DOES will be holding around the city to be “informal family conversations” where citizens can express themselves freely. The focus was on what is working as well as what needs to be improved regarding the service DOES is providing to Washington DC residents. Mr. Donald let the gathering know that the estimated population in ward 8 is 78,686, the unemployment rate in Ward 8 is 12.3%, and 503 new residents moved into Ward 8 in 2016. He showed the myriad of services DOES offers and added that 58% of DC residents who come through the door at DOES receive employment. Mr. Donald closed by stating that DOES’ main focus is exemplary customer service to the people they serve.
The floor was then open for comments from the public. There were many passionate remarks. Most people complimented DOES on improvements made, however there were great ideas for even better services. These included more mobile employment units coming out to the neighborhoods because many young residents are fearful of traveling around the city. Mr. Donald commented that it is now possible to request these mobile units to come to your neighborhood at the DOES website. There were remarks from service providers, clergy, and Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White even weighed in from the audience. Everyone felt heard and respected as Mr. Donald patiently answered every question and made sure every suggestion was recorded for further examination.
The next DOES Community Conversation will be on Thursday, September 7 in Ward 1 at 1480 Girard St NW from 4-6pm and CSC will be there! Join us and let your voice be heard!