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Washington Business Journal Highlights Skyland Workforce Center’s Efforts for Returning Citizens

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Many job seekers in Washington, DC face multiple challenges related to literacy, computer skills, work readiness, transportation, housing, and other employment barriers. For some, the barrier is particularly high, such as for individuals re-entering the workforce after being incarcerated or those who are unfamiliar with, or don’t have access to, digital resources.

The Washington Business Journal profiled how the Skyland Workforce Center (SWC), a program of Building Bridges Across the River, is working to help individuals overcome barriers and get the training and skills they need to find employment.

“We have seen a lot of people who have gotten incarcerated at a young age. They come out with a criminal record, they don’t have much work experience, and so their resumes are a little thin,” Anne-Marie Bairstow, director of the Skyland Workforce Center at the time, told the Business Journal. “There’s a lot of discrimination against returning citizens. But there’s also the discouragement where, ‘No one is going to hire me so why do I bother.’”

Other barriers facing many job seekers, including returning citizens, include unfamiliarity with or inability to complete forms such as job applications or unemployment applications. Services offered by the Workforce Center and other, similar organizations around the DC region help clients navigate these processes.

Chris Smith, Chairman and CEO of WC Smith, and Gary Rappaport, CEO of Rappaport Co., in 2014 conceived of and developed the Skyland Workforce Center, located across the street from Skyland Town Center. WC Smith and Rappaport are the lead developers of Skyland Town Center.

The Center leverages its expertise to provide high-quality workforce development programs in one location, leading to work-ready employee candidates, career-focused job placement, economic self-sufficiency, and improved quality of life.

The Washington Business Journal articles can be found here and here.