Gray plans tax credits to help get D.C. residents hired

Mayor Vincent Gray wants to offer companies tax credits for hiring D.C. residents, the mayor told business leaders from across the region Thursday.

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(Photo: Associated Press)

Unemployment in the District is in the double digits. In Ward 8, one in four residents is without work.

“We're not asking you to create jobs. We're not asking you for a handout, for charity. We're simply asking you to work with us,” Gray said.

Part of Gray’s so-called "one city, one hire" initiative is a collaboration between the administration, employers and the unemployed.

“There are 51,000 vacancies in this region. We have 36,000 people out of work. Now there's more to it than that because you have to make sure there is a match between skill sets required and possessed for those looking for jobs,” Gray said.

Thursday morning, the mayor presented the jobs plan to local business leaders, where he received positive feedback.

“I think it can be impactful but if we all do our part, I mean there's a role for all of us to play,” said Barbara Lang of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce.

“There are remarkable opportunities in Washington,” said Jim Dinegar of the Washington Board of Trade. “I commend the mayor for putting a strong focus on this and the strong sense of urgency so we can get to it.”

The D.C. government will give employers tax credits outlines as follows:

$2,400 for each adult hired.
$1,200 for each summer youth hired.
$4,800 for each disabled veteran hired.

as well as other perks.

“We have dollars available now for wages during the training period for employees,” said Eric Crenshaw of the administration.

D.C. youth rallied outside the Wilson building, protesting that the administration has not done enough to help them find work.

“It's depressing and it's discouraging because you go through so much to get a job and then you never get no calls back or email and it make you just want to give up,” said Chauncey Anderson.

Some also question why it took the Gray administration eight months to develop this jobs plan.

The mayor says he took advantage of federal stimulus dollars before focusing on this year's summer youth employment program. The program helped 14,000 participants get jobs and cost $5 million less than expected.

“This is a natural follow to an enormous summer program … now we've moved on to the next thing,” Gray said.

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